- Written by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
On Wednesday, October 30, Ms. Julie Fisher, wife of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, visited an early childhood day care center in the Bedouin village of Abu Kaf and Hagar Association’s Jewish Arab bi-lingual school in Be’er Sheva. The center is part of Embassy partner Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation – Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development ‘s (AJEEC-NISPED) “Parents as Partners” program to empower Bedouin – a program recognized by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor. The Hagar bilingual elementary school, which has continued to flourish and grow since its inception in 2007, is the recipient of monetary and in-kind support from the U.S. Embassy and the US Agency for International Development.
During the visit at the Hagar School, Ms. Fisher told the Arab and Jewish 6th graders: “I am pleased to see you, Jews and Arabs, learning together, playing together and trusting each other. Your school demonstrates that language and cultural differences do not have to be obstacles between people, but rather, they can provide opportunities to learn from each other.” As an educator, Fisher understands the value of bilingual education to developing open, tolerant and successful students who will help ensure a peaceful future.
Photo: Michele Dastin-van Rijn/ U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
- Written by President's office
President Peres sent a gift to the new baby with a special message embroidered on it - "From Israel with Love"
The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, sent a special message of congratulations today on the occasion of the birth of the Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's baby. Along with the letter President Peres sent a special gift of a baby suit with an embroidered message on it – "From Israel with Love"
President Peres said of the royal birth, "From Jerusalem, Israel, I want to express our happiness and prayers for the young prince. Never in my life did I see the people of the world so united in happiness. It was a demonstration of where royalty helps democracy and where the people have shown what a true democracy is. The streets were full and smiles were on everybody’s face. I am happy to see the whole world so happy with the birth of this young boy. I am 90 years old, so I saw his father when he was a young boy and now I hope we shall see this newly born prince, doing his job in the most democratic and royal manner. The world became richer with this event. God bless the Queen, From Jerusalem Mazal Tov!"
- Written by Silvia G. Golan & Haim Rotter
President Francois Hollande celebrated the Bastille Day in Paris, with the Annual Military Parade, while in Israel, Mr. Christophe Bigot, the French Ambassador, held his traditional reception on July 14 at his beautiful residence in Jaffa.
The French National Holiday commemorates the Bastille Day, which took place on July 14, 1789, and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute power of Louis XVI's Ancient Regime. By capturing this prison, the people signaled that the power should be based on the nation and be limited by a separation of powers.
The ambassador, Mr. Bigot, accompanied by his wife, by the honorable guest Mr. Shimon Peres, president of Israel, by Mr. Meir Habib, Jewish member of the French Parliament, and the French- to-Hebrew translator, congratulated all the guests, stressing the warm and special relationship and cooperation between France and Israel.
Almost five thousand honorable guests participated in the event.
In his speech, Ambassador Bigot announced the end of the 4-year period of his diplomatic service in Israel. He pointed out his fascination of Israel, mentioning exciting moments that he experienced during his service in Israel, an also his involvement in the process of releasing soldier Gilad Shalit from captivity. Mr. Bigot ended his speech with the words: "Long live France!, Long live Equality!, long live the friendship between France and Israel!"
Israel's president, Mr. Peres, started his speech by quoting the late president of France, Charles De Gaulle: "one cannot mention France without its greatness, as one cannot mention the good relation between Israel and France without the great contribution of the host, the ambassador Bigot." Mr. Peres mentioned the Jewish contribution to France; for example, the Jewish engineer Gustav Eiffel, who designed the famous Tour Eiffel in Paris.
Mr. Peres ended his speech stressing the three important values to the French people, on which the French society is based on Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, thus making July 14 an important day to the whole humanity.
President Peres said to the Ambassador Bigot, that he will change his place of service, but Israel will not change the friendship to him.
After the speeches, both national anthems, French and Israeli, were played and sung.
A remarkable and quite long fireworks show was then performed.
Among the distinguished guests, the following were present:
Mr. Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister
Prof. Daniel Shechtman, the Israeli scientist that won the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry,
Mr. Shlomo Morgan, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Elie Chouraqui, the famous French Jewish film director and scriptwriter, who is going to "make alia" to Israel,
Noam Shalit, ambassadors, diplomats, businessmen, and many representatives of the French community in Israel.
Photo Silvia Golan
- Written by Michal Cohen
Many distinguished representatives from the business and diplomatic community were present last Wednesday at the residence of Colombia's Ambassador, Mr. Fernando Alxate Donoso and Wife , to celebrate the 203-th anniversary of the establishment of Colombia as an independent state.
In an exciting evening, where the Israeli government was represented by the Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, the close and friendly relationship was clearly felt in three levels.
In the first level, the close relationship was strengthened notoriously with the visit of Colombia's President about a month ago, which included meetings with President Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and several major ministers, such as Mrs. Livni, Minister of Science Mr. Perry, Minister of Infrastructures Mr. Shalom, and others. In the second level, it was clearly pointed out the common goals in the taking of historical decisions that will result in a peace process in our region, as well as regions of conflict. In the third level, thoroughly described by Colombia's Ambassador, there are a variety of operative plans, which will include cooperation and information exchange on natural resources, energy and agricultural matters, as well as an increase of information on technology. The Ambassador also reviewed and described additional plans dealing with visits of Israeli sportsmen and sportswomen in Colombia and vice versa, especially during this festive event, while a large delegation of Colombian sportsmen and sportswomen is participating in the Maccabiah games.
The great appreciation of the Ambassador for the Minister of Justice Livni was clearly perceptible, as well as his familiarity with local politics. He praised her for her unceasing efforts in the establishment of peace relations and agreements between the Israelis and Palestinians, and regional cooperation for the thriving of the region. The Ambassador pointed out his appreciation for the fact that Mrs. Livni is tirelessly active keeping this issue on top of matters.
Minister of Justice Livni thanked the Colombian President for his productive and important visit, expressed her appreciation for the support of Colombia to Israel, and mentioned her hope and belief that, following the notorious efforts of US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, we will be able to, not only carry negotiations, but also reach agreements. She also expressed her hope that the European Union joins and participates in this effort, and that, finally, the two parties will summarize their differences and their common goals in direct negotiations. Mrs. Livni ended her address with a chord of humor, mentioning that her son is one of the travelers in South America, so she must maintain good relations with her South-American friends.
Photo Tomer Peled
tranlated from hebrew by David Altman
- Written by Michal Cohen & Yonatan Goldman
Lithuania’s Statehood Day was celebrated Tuesday, July 9, at the Dan Hotel, with distinguished ambassadors and other members of the diplomatic corps in Israel attending. The event also marked the assumption of Lithuania of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
His Excellency the Ambassador of Lithuania to Israel, Mr. Darius Degutis, began his address to the assembled with an impressive Hebrew greeting, in which he noted the strong bonds between Israel and Lithuania. He also said that, while the Holocaust must not be forgotten, both Israel and Lithuania should look to creating a better future, through cooperation in the fields of art, culture, tourism, and trade. He fondly mentioned the enjoyment both countries derive from their competitive basketball games.
Representing the government of Israel was His Excellency the Minister of Science, Technology, and Space, Mr. Yaacov Perry. Mr. Perry commented on the challenge of Lithuania’s presidency of the Council of the European Union. Mr. Perry also noted that, “In recent years the relations between Israel and Lithuania have strengthened… just a few months ago we were glad to host the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Minister of the Economy.”
Mr. Perry added, “The field of culture is considered one of the main pillars… as is tourism. There is a successful agreement for bilateral cooperation in industrial research and development [between the two countries].”
Mr. Perry also mentioned that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto, saying that, “We appreciate the decision of the Lithuanian parliament and government to mark this anniversary with a series of events, to ensure we never forget the atrocities of the Shoah.”
The day after the celebration, the Deputy Speaker of the Lithuanian parliament, Mr. Gediminas Kirkilas, and the ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, were hosted at a special screening documenting the 1992 Lithuanian basketball team, whose athletes struggled under Soviet rule. Sarunes Marcilionis, the legendary basketball player, was a guest of honor, as was Israeli basketball star Tal Brody, known for his famous proclamation marking Israel’s victory over the CSKA Moscow basketball team, “We are on the map!”
Photo Silvia Golan