Romanian Foreign Minister, Titus Corlățean, is paying an official visit in Israel between 23rd and 26th of December. The schedule of the visit includes in-depth talks on the stage and prospects of the Romanian-Israeli bilateral relations with Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Foreign Affairs. The head of Romanian diplomacy will be received by President Shimon Peres and will meet with the leadership and members of the Israeli Government: Uri Orbach, Minister for Senior Citizens, Yuval Steinitz, Minister of Strategic Affairs, Information and International Relations, and Tzipi Livni, Minister of Justice and Chief Negotiator in the dialogue with the Palestinian party.
On Monday, 23 December 2013, Foreign Minister Corlăţean met with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the State of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman. The heads of the two diplomacies mentioned the excellent progress of the bilateral political-diplomatic dialogue, reiterating the special relationship created in the 65 years of uninterrupted bilateral relations.
The two Ministers assessed the measures discussed during previous rounds of political consultations and agreed to accelerate the demarches aimed at deepening the cooperation between the two ministries of Foreign Affairs. Both officials underscored the interest in organizing the next joint meeting of the Romanian and the Israel Cabinet, in Bucharest, in 2014.
At the same time, they reviewed the progress of sectorial cooperation in the economic field, in the areas of investment, research and development, energy and education. As far as the economic sector is concerned, they discussed about measures to support an increased presence of Romanian firms in Israel in the field of construction, energy infrastructure, oil and gas. Minister Avigdor Lieberman shared the assessment of his Romanian counterpart as to the benefits likely to be generated by the presence of Romanian experts in various fields, in the high-tech area in particular.
During the meeting the Romanian Foreign Minister asked the Israeli party to accelerate and increase the flexibility of the procedure of granting long-term visas to Romanian students and businesspeople interested in operating in Israel, a topic the Israeli party will approach in an open manner.
The agenda of the talks also included themes related to international dossiers, the two Foreign Ministers having an in-depth exchange of views, notably on the stage of negotiations in the framework of the Middle East Peace Process. The head of Romanian diplomacy underscored the importance of continuing the direct talks with a view to obtaining a solution accepted by both parties – the Israeli and the Palestinian parties.


Photo provided by the Romanian embassy 



President Peres: "France stands at the forefront in its steadfast opposition to Iran's attempt to acquire nuclear weapons and its development of long range missiles. We appreciate France's strong stance, under your leadership. 
Vive l'amitié entre la France et Israël."
French President Hollande welcomed by children at President's Residence in Jerusalem
French President Hollande welcomed by children at President's Residence in Jerusalem
Copyright: GPO/Mark Neiman
French President Francois Hollande arrived in Israel together with his partner Valerie Trierweiler, for a state visit along with a delegation of senior French government ministers (17-19 November 2013). 

PM Netanyahu to Cabinet:"Today we will welcome French President Francois Hollande and ministers of his government, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. They come as friends and will be welcomed as friends. This visit would be important at any time both for bilateral relations but also, of course, in light of the talks being held in Geneva on the Iranian nuclear issue."

President Hollande was welcomed at Ben-Gurion International Airport in an official state welcome ceremony by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior public officials during which President Peres thanked President Hollande for France's historic support and friendship of Israel.

President Shimon Peres then hosted a welcome ceremony at the President's Residence for French President Hollande on the red carpet along with schoolchildren from the Marc Chagall School who will welcome him with songs and deliver welcome greetings in Hebrew, Arabic and French. After the welcome ceremony the two presidents proceeded to the garden of the President's Residence where they planted a tree as a sign of the strength of the cooperation between the two countries.

President Peres and President Hollande were then joined by senior government ministers for a diplomatic working meeting. During the meeting the two presidents and the delegations discussed the latest developments in the efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons including the talks in Geneva as well as the progress in the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. At the conclusion of the meeting the two presidents delivered joint statements to the press.

In the evening, President Hollande met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two men held a joint press conference and signed bilateral cooperation agreements.

On Monday morning, President Hollande will visit the Church of St. Anne in the Old City of Jerusalem, from which he will proceed to the Palestinian Authority. In the afternoon, he will address a special session of the Knesset plenum, to be followed by a state dinner at President Peres' Jerusalem residence attended by senior members of the French and Israeli governments, Prime Minister Netanyahu and 140 honored guests representing the strength and depth of French-Israeli relations.  

On Tuesday morning, President Hollande will lay a stone on the graves of the victims of the March 2012 terrorist attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse. From there, he will tour an exhibition on Israeli technological innovation.

During the visit, Prime Minister Netanyahu and French President Hollande will sign a joint statement that expresses the continued growth of bilateral relations, the determination to continue and deepen cooperation in many areas of strategic importance, and the strengthening of economic, scientific, educational and cultural ties between the two countries.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "The French President is a close friend of the State of Israel and I look forward to hosting him and his partner in Israel, especially at this time when the major powers, including France, are discussing ways to halt the Iranian military nuclear program. I am also pleased to host his team and French government ministers, including Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is taking an active and important part in the current talks by the major powers. Together we will work to advance and deepen bilateral strategic and economic relations."

Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, leads 'Mission for Growth' to Israel


"Mission for Growth" includes 65 EU companies and organizations for B2B meetings at WATEC. VP Tajani to hold talks and sign letters of intent with key Israeli ministers setting the basis for future bilateral cooperation


Strengthening already flourishing business relations and exploring further opportunities for cooperation between European and Israeli SMEs will be the main focus of a visit to Israel by Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship. During the visit, which will take place on October 21-22, VP Tajani will be accompanied by some 65 industry associations and companies from 17 EU member states which will hold B2B meetings at WATEC - Water Technology and Environmental Control Conference


In meetings with President Peres and key Israeli ministers, the European Commission Vice-President will also discuss and sign letters of intent on strengthening cooperation on industrial policy, in the field of satellite navigation research and on SME cooperation.


Following similar visits to Russian and China, this "Mission for Growth" to Israel reflects the EU's belief that there remains untapped potential in bilateral relations and this visit aims at finding new synergies. It also recognizes Israel's world class capacity for innovation which rests on its highly innovative businesses that benefit from the presence of excellent research institutions geared towards the needs of the business sector.


On the evening of Monday, October 21, VP Tajani will meetMinister of Science, Technology and Space Yaakov Perryandsign an administrative arrangement on cooperation in the field of satellite Navigation with the ministry and the Israel Space Agency.


On the morning of Tuesday, October 22, he will discuss expanding tourism cooperation with Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau. Following this, at the WATEC conference, he will meet with Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, with whom he will open an EU-Israel Business Round Table and sign a "letter of intent" on industrial cooperation and on Small and Medium Enterprises. This will be followed by a meeting with Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom and the delivery of a keynote speech at the WATEC conference

On Tuesday, 22.10.13 at 12.30 Vice President Tajani will hold a press conference at WATEC, Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds, Building 10, Room A1


In the afternoon Vice President Tajani will meet with President Shimon Peres at the President's Residence in Jerusalem


Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau: "It is a great honor for me to host the Cardinal in Jerusalem. I see great importance in maintaining warm connections between the Christian and Jewish communities, and in strengthening and walking along the path that represents the life of Cardinal Lustiger. I hereby invite the members of the Christian community in France to visit Israel, to enjoy the beauty and the historical and religious treasures that this land has to offer, while strengthening inter-faith ties."

His Eminence, André the Twenty-third, Cardinal of Paris arrived in Israel last week for a historic visit, accompanied by a 130-strong delegation. The Cardinal participated in a ceremony unveiling a commemoration plaque at Abu Ghosh in memory of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, who converted from Judaism and worked within the Catholic Church to promote close ties between Christianity and Judaism.

Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau hosted a festive reception last weekend in honor of the Cardinal and his delegation at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. During the course of his visit, the Cardinal led prayers in churches throughout Israel, visited the Old City of Jerusalem, Qasr el-Yahud, Qumran, Masada, the Ramon Crater, Beit Hatfutzot and Bethlehem. The visit generated publicity in the Christian media, including coverage by six accompanying journalists from the French Catholic media who were guests of the Tourism Ministry.

The Tourism Ministry attaches great importance to this visit of leading opinion-formers in France, who have the capability of making significant contributions in increasing  pilgrimage tourism from France.

In 2012, about 300,000 tourists arrived in Israel from France, of whom 60% were Jewish and 29% Christian. 

Photo credit: Dudi Salem

Silva Mediterranea officials with KKL-JNF professionals at Sataf. Photo: Tania Susskind

"Although Israel is a small country, KKL-JNF has unprecedented experience in the field of afforestation in semi-arid and desert regions."
Key officials of the Silva Mediterranea Forum on Mediterranean Forestry (which is supported by FAO) arrive in Israel for a five day visit, to learn about KKL-JNF's method of afforestation in arid and semi-arid regions. The delegation is visiting KKL-JNF forests all over the country, including the Carmel Forest in the north, Ambassador's Forest in the south, and the Sataf Springs site near Jerusalem.
On Monday, September 30, a delegation of three key officials of the Silva Mediterranea Forum on Mediterranean Forestry and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) arrived in Israel as guests of KKL-JNF for an intensive five-day visit. The delegation included the president of FAO-Silva Mediterranea, Mr. Ismail Belen, who is also the Deputy Director General of the General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion in the Turkish Ministry of Forest and Water Issues; Christophe Besacier, Forestry Officer of the Forest Resources Management Team of the FAO Forestry Department; andTakayuki Hagiwara, FAO Senior Natural Resources Management Officer. During their stay, the guests will be visiting KKL-JNF forests in northern, southern and central Israel, including the Carmel Forest in the north and Ambassadors Forest in the south, accompanied by KKL-JNF professionals. The visit was organized by Karine Bolton of KKL-JNF's International Relations Department. 
According to KKL-JNF Chief ForesterDavid Brand, the visit signifies the beginning of a close and fruitful collaboration between KKL-JNF and Silva Mediterranea, for the benefit of both sides. "Although Israel is a small country," Mr. Brand said, "KKL-JNF has unprecedented experience in the field ofafforestation in semi-arid and desert regions. It is KKL-JNF policy to share our knowledge and expertise with other countries that have similar climates, and of course we have a lot to learn from them. I would add that initiatives like this are not just for KKL-JNF's benefit. We also serve as goodwill ambassadors and a bridge for the State of Israel, since cooperating on a scientific level exposes our colleagues to a positive side of Israel that is often overlooked amidst all the political turmoil."
The delegation's visit began with a dinner meeting on Monday evening in Jerusalem with KKL-JNF World Chairman, Mr. Efi Stenzler. The next morning, Tuesday, the guests were at the KKL-JNF World Headquarters in Jerusalem, where KKL-JNF Chief Forester Brand presented a comprehensive and enlightening description of KKL-JNF's afforestation work in Israel. He was followed by Christophe Besacier, who detailed the goals and mission of Silva Mediterranea. 
Mr Besacier noted that Silva Mediterraneawas created since Mediterranean forests share many common and unique features. As far back as 1911, countries in the region recognized the need to work together on shared forestry problems and to create Silva Mediterranea, which became an FAO statutory body in 1948. It remains the only international forum dedicated to Mediterranean forest issues in which the Mediterranean countries from the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, the European Forestry Commission and the Near East Forestry Commission can meet, share experiences and establish cooperative programs. Twenty-six countries and the European Community are members of the committee, but non-member countries are frequently invited to the sessions as observers. 

Silva Mediterranea hosts working groups on diverse topics such as forest fires, forest products, Mediterranean forests and sustainable development, genetic diversity, climate change, desertification, arid zone forestry, and urban and peri-urban forestry. Mr. Besacier noted that KKL-JNF can contribute to many of these subjects, particularly in the fields ofdesertification, arid zone forestry and urban forestry. "I am certain that in spite of the political difficulties that might exist between Israel and some of the Mediterranean countries, Silva Mediterranea can provide a forum for shared research and exchange of knowledge between KKL-JNF and many of our members. I very much look forward to seeing what KKL-JNF has accomplished in Israel over such a short period of time," Mr. Bescacier concluded. 
Later the same day, the delegation traveled to KKL-JNF's Sataf Springs site in the Jerusalem Mountains to see how the theories they had heard about were implemented in the field. They were greeted by KKL-JNF forester Hanoch Tzoref, who said that Sataf is a good example of KKL-JNF's new approach to forest management policy, which is to define the purpose of each area of the forest. "It's not about managing individual trees, but about relating to an ecosystem. Here in Sataf, our main goal is actually recreation and conservation of heritage. People come here to learn about what agriculture and nature was like two thousand years ago and even during the time of King David." 

Mr. Besacier asked what the entrance fee to Sataf is. "KKL-JNF policy is that all its sites are open to the public free of charge," Hanoch surprised his guests. "We believe that nature should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their financial status. For me personally, this is a very important principle, and I very much hope that our financial circumstances will allow us to continue with this policy," Hanoch said. 
For Takayuki Hagiwara, this is his first visit to Israel. "I am based in Rome, and I travel at least six months every year to many different regions, including Latin America, the Caribbean and East Asia. I work for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which supports Silva Mediterranea. When I heard that a delegation to Israel was being organized, I asked to join. I am very interested to see what Israel is doing in terms of water conversation policies, natural resource management and of course your country's forestry methods. Looking at our schedule, it seems we'll be quite busy." 

"It's true that Israel is a very small country," said Ismail Belen, "but I know that we have a lot to learn from you, because I visited here in 2008. Of course the scale is different, for example, in Turkey, we plant 500,000,000 seedlings a year. However, KKL-JNF has a worldwide reputation as a pioneer in desert forestry, and that is one of the main reasons I organized the delegation. Many Mediterranean countries have similar climatic conditions, and your achievements here are important both in terms of combating desertification and also carbon sequestration at a time of climate change. I look forward to cooperating with you in the future," Mr. Belen concluded.