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On Monday May 20th, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv celebrated the inauguration of President Lai Ching-te with a cultural evening at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. The Cinematheque was adorned in flags and colors of Israel and Taiwan, and guests enjoyed refreshments, before the formal portion of the evening, followed by a cultural movie screening.


President Lai Ching-te was elected the 8th president of the Republic of China in January 2024, after previously serving as vice president, and prior to that, as premier of the Republic of China. Prior to entering politics, he worked as a public health expert.


To celebrate the occasion, guests were invited to view the film Gaga, “An authentic tale of family and traditions”. The film explores the challenges facing a traditional family from an indigenous community in Taiwan. It touches on themes about clashes between modernity and tradition, and highlights the physical and cultural beauty and diversity of Taiwan, while acknowledging the challenges that indigenous communities face.


MK Boaz Toporovsky, chair of the Israel-Taiwan friendship caucus in the Knesset, opened the evening, mentioning that he had just participated in a delegation to Taiwan, where the members discussed increased collaboration between the countries. He noted the strong support that Taiwan had provided to Israel both in the immediate aftermath of October 7th, as well as more recently when Iran launched an aerial assault on Israel, and stated that “Israel will not forget its friends.” He also stressed the shared values of democracy common to both Israel and the Republic of China, and mutually beneficial interest in promoting economic and cultural ties.


The mayor of Ra’anana, Chaim Broyde, spoke next. Emphasizing that he was not just mayor of Ra’anana, but also “Chaim, the son of Zalman and Hana- both Holocaust survivors”, Mayor Broyde highlighted the challenges that Jews worldwide are facing, and thanked Taiwan for its strong support and close ties.


Representative Ya-ping Lee, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv, addressed the audience of diplomats and friends of Taiwan. Representative Lee reiterated unwavering support for the victims of terror and violence, and paid note to the Israeli hostages still being held in Gaza, offering hope and a prayer that they would return home safely soon. Addressing the focus of the evening, Representative Lee noted that three different presidents of the Republic of China have now been elected after visiting Israel, joking that perhaps the food in Israel led to political success. 


Distinguished guests in attendance included Raanana Mayor Chaim Broyde, MK Boaz Toporovsky, head of the Israel-Taiwan Friendship Caucus, MK Boaz Bismuth, MK Matti Sarfati Harcavi, MK Efrat Rayen, Maariv Editor Golan Bar Yosef and his wife Shai Li, Zehava Galon, president of the research institute ZULAT for Equality and Human Rights, Albert Pinhasov, Rector of Ariel University, former minister Nachman Shai, Gabriel Hayon, President of the Diplomatic Institute, and ambassadors, diplomats, military, business and civil society leaders. All of the guests were given gifts to take home to learn more about Taiwan and plan their own visits.

www.diplomacy.co.il  congratulates the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and the nation of the Republic of China on this important occasion.


 Photos credit Silvia G. Golan 

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