- Written by Steven Aiello
The Hungarian embassy held its annual celebration of the 1956 revolution on Thursday evening, marking 65 years since this important national event. For the first time ever the event was held in Jerusalem. An appropriately historic location was chosen as the venue--the storied Montefiore windmill in the Mishkenot Sha'ananim neighborhood just outside of the old city walls. Diplomats, civil society leaders, and friends of the embassy enjoyed drinks and refreshments to mark the occasion as the sun set in front of the old city of Jerusalem.
Reuven Rivlin, former President of Israel, said "I considered my participation at the reception particularly important on the one hand because it was held in Jerusalem and on the other hand because I attach great importance to the fight against anti-Semitism both in Europe and Hungary. Much has already been done, but there is still work to do.
Levente Benkő, Ambassador of Hungary, also drew attention to the venue of the reception, from where one could see the Old City of Jerusalem, holy place of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. "It is the first time, but not the last, that we host a reception here" the Ambassador said, recalling that in March 2019, Hungary was the first country in the European Union to open a Trade Office in the city to further develop the already strong business relations.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was also the first time in two years that such a large-scale reception was held. Levente Benkő encouraged Israelis to travel to Hungary, which is a safe European destination, and emphasized the strategic alliance between Hungary and Israel: Budapest is the best friend of Jerusalem in the European Union, and Hungary can count on Israel as the most secure point in the Middle East. “Of the hundreds of thousands who fled oppression after the revolution in 1956, about twenty thousand settled in Israel” – stressed the Ambassador the importance of the revolution in the early days of the Middle Eastern country.
Israel’s Minister of Public Security Omer Bar Lev addressed the audience. Congratulating the people of Hungary on this important occasion, the minister noted Hungary’s close relationship with Israel, and the strong support Hungary has given Israel in recent years.
Minister Bar Lev cited specifically the support from Hungary for Israel at the UN, including boycotting the recent Durban anniversary convention, and opposing expanded authority of the International Criminal Court (ICC), along with support within the European Union for an expanded relationship with Israel. The minister noted the visit by Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Szijjártó, to Israel during the recent war with Gaza as a show of support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens.
The minister also thanked Hungary for staunch support in preserving Jewish heritage within Hungary, including refurbishing synagogues and other historical Jewish structures, and just as importantly, for the physical protection of Jewish communities via combatting anti-semitism and advocating a zero-tolerance approach to anti-semitism.
Ambassador Benkő thanked the embassy staff for their dedication throughout the year, and in arranging the celebration in Jerusalem, and then invited guests to enjoy the live music and kosher catered dinner, including authentic Hungarian cuisine, such as goulash, and Hungarian blintzes. The ambassador then raised a toast with the minister to the success of Israel-Hungarian relations.
Among the many distinguished guests in attendance were former President of Israel Mr. Reuven Rivlin; deputy mayor of Jerusalem Mrs. Fleur Hassan-Nahoum; Ambassador Gil Haskel, head of protocol and former director of Mashav, Ambassador Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, CEO of IMUNA Mr. Ari Karp, Fundraising Director of IMUNA; Ms. Autumn Groat; Ephraim Kishon foundation, and members of the Ephraim Kishon foundation for strengthening Hungarian linguistic and cultural heritage in Israel.
Guests were delighted to enjoy live musical performances from Barczas / Besh o Drom Band and as well eating the Traditional Goulash
Diplomacy.co.il offers congratulations to the Embassy of Hungary and the Hungarian people on the 65th anniversary of the 1956 revolution.
Photos Silvia G. Golan
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- Written by Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office
Defense Minister, Benny Gantz: “I would like to thank my friend, Czech Minister of Defense, Lubomir Metnar for sealing this important agreement, which further deepens the excellent defense relations between our countries. It is a strategic agreement with a NATO- member country, which will create job opportunities in both countries. I am proud of Israel’s defense industries and their advanced technology which is requested by many of our partner countries. I would like to thank Sibat and RAFAEL for their work on this agreement.”
Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense (ImoD), Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amir Eshel and Czech Deputy Minister for Armaments and Acquisition, Lubor Koudelka, signed a GTG (government-to-government) agreement in the Czech Republic, to deliver 4 RAFAEL-produced air defense systems to the Czech Ministry of Defense. The agreement was signed under the guidance of Sibat, the ImoD’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate, and amounts to approximately NIS 2 billion ($520 million).
A celebratory ceremony was held in Prague today, during which the Israeli and Czech Ministries of Defense signed the agreement. It is the biggest agreement signed between the countries to date. As part of the agreement led by SIBAT, the Czech Republic will be equipped with 4 RAFAEL SPYDER batteries, which include MMR radars produced by IAI.
The agreement amounts to approximately NIS 2 billion ($520 million) and includes the involvement of Czech defense industries. SPYDER is an air defense system based on RAFAEL’s Python and Derby air-to-air missiles and is designed to intercept a variety of airborne threats including planes, helicopters and UAVs. These will be integrated into the NATO country’s infrastructure and will defend Czech skies. Czech industries will also be involved in the process outlined in the agreement.
At the press conference that took place following the signing of the agreement, IMoD Director General Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amir Eshel said: “The Czech Republic has always been an esteemed ally of Israel, and we will always remember the unconditional support that we received from the Czech Republic during the establishment of the state. The agreement that we signed today is yet another milestone in the strategic cooperation between our two countries and also reflects the visions of both Ministers Gantz and Metnar to further develop cooperation between Israeli and Czech industries. This is the first time that Israel will deliver a full air defense system to a NATO country, and we are proud and thrilled that the Czech Republic is the one. RAFAEL's system represents the excellent capabilities of Israeli defense industries, which are leaders in the global defense market."
Czech Minister of Defense, Lubomir Metnar: “I highly appreciate the willingness of the Israeli Government to share one of its most advanced defense systems with us. It will push our armed forces to the 21st century in the air defense domain. I believe that it is a milestone in our long-term strategic partnership that will help to further it.”
RAFAEL CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yoav Har-Even: "RAFAEL is proud to complete its first air defense agreement with a NATO country, following a long and thorough process. We view this agreement as a strategic milestone for RAFAEL’s air defense systems in Europe. I thank our partners in the Czech Republic for this important move. The agreement also includes a maintenance contract for the next two decades as well as local production- two trends that RAFAEL has been increasing in recent years."
Photos credit Credit: Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office
- Written by Silvia G. Golan & Steven Aiello
The embassies of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras held an historic celebration online in honor of the bicentennial of Central American independence--marking 200 years since the act of independence of Central America in 1821.
The Zoom celebration began with the national anthems of the Central American nations, as well as of Israel. The ambassador of Honduras in Israel, H.E. Mr. Mario Castillo, then presented remarks on behalf of the host countries. The ambassador spoke about the common threads tying together the people and nations of central america--not just a shared history, but also a deep regional cooperation that has benefitted all the nations of Central America, as well as a common policy of collaboration with other nations.
The ambassador thanked the people of Israel for the strong friendship over the years. In particular, he cited the extremely successful Mashav program for training thousands of Central Americans, humanitarian assistance during natural disasters, as well as the recent “Brothers in Arms” campaign to provide assistance in securing vaccination. Ambassador Castillo also thanked the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet Le’Israel for helping organize the virtual bicentennial celebration, and closed by wishing prosperity for both nations, and expressing hope that circumstances would allow Israeli government representatives to visit Central America in the near future.
Mr. Hernan Feldman spoke on behalf of the Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemet Le’Israel (JNF-KKL). Offering his remarks in Spanish, Mr. Feldman said that he was honored to be representing the JNF, and wished congratulations to all of the countries celebrating. The Ambassador of Guatemala, Mrs. Julissa Anzueto, then presented an award of appreciation to Mr. Feldman, in gratitude for his work connecting the Central American nations with Israel.
A video was then shown highlighting the work done by JNF-KKL in Central America. Following the highlight film, there was a stirring musical interlude, with Israeli musician playing a special Central American instrument in a medley that delighted the audience.
Finally, the President of Israel, Mr. Isaac Herzog, spoke, on behalf of the government and people of Israel. President Herzog praised the warm friendship between Israel and the Central American states, noting the beauty of the region and its appeal for Israeli tourists. On this important bicentennial, the president offered best wishes for continued success and growth in bilateral relations and cooperation going forward.
Participants included : Ambassador Gil Haskel, Chief of State Protocol of Israel; Ambassador Jonathan Peled, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Hernán Feldman, Vice President of KKL; Ambassador of Zambia Martin Mwanambale, Dean of the of the Ambassadors Corps accredited Israel; Ambassador of Honduras Mario Castillo ; Ambassador of Guatemala Julissa Ansueto, Ambassador of El Salvador Hector Celarie, and Charge of Affaire a.i. from Costa Rica, Mr. Javier Rojas; Minister Miguel Muñoz, Head of Cooperation of the Embassy of Honduras ; Members of the Knesset, Israeli government officials, ambassadors and diplomatic representatives, accredited to the State of Israel; Honorary Consuls, Military Attache from Honduras Gral. Macoto Vásquez, friends from Central America and more...
Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Central American nations on the historic bicentennial celebration.
Photos credit Alex Kolomoisky
- Written by MFA Spokesperson / Silvia Golan
FM Lapid: We live in a global reality in which those who are reclusive will disappear. Those who cooperate will lead both the world and the Middle East.
At the joint press conference held Yesterday (Thursday, September 30, 2021) in Bahrain, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid made the following statement:
“As-salamu alaykum, shalom aleichem.
“This phrase has a double meaning both in Hebrew and Arabic – a greeting when people meet, and a blessing for a lifetime of peace and cooperation.
Today, these two meanings come together as one.
We’re meeting in the first official visit of an Israeli Minister to the Kingdom of Bahrain.
“The global struggle today is not between right and left, nor between Judaism and Islam or Christianity. The global struggle is between moderate and extreme. Between a culture of life, versus a culture of destruction and death. Today, together with all our friends in the Gulf, we are leading a brave coalition of moderates who are looking ahead to create a prosperous future of stability and tolerance. We live in a global reality in which those who are reclusive will disappear. Those who cooperate will lead both the world and the Middle East.
“We are hardy people. We knew how to grow life in the heart of the desert. We did this because we knew how to adapt to a changing reality. It is now our responsibility to build a future of prosperity and progress for our children.
“Bahrain, like Israel, encompasses an ancient history along with the extraordinary capabilities of the new technological world. Our opportunities are shared, our threats are shared, and they are not far from here.
“In his speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, the late Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin said: ‘Peace is the beauty of life. Is the sunrise. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the promotion of man, the victory of the just goal and the victory of the truth. Peace is all that, and much more.’
“Peace is the beauty of life.
It is sunshine.
It is the smile of a child,
the love of a mother,
the joy of a father,
the togetherness of a family.
It is the advancement of man,
the victory of a just cause,
the triumph of truth.
Peace is all of these and more and more.”
Today, we are bringing that “more and more.”
“Today we bring to each other the ‘much more than that,’ the official opening of the embassies, which will mark the political cooperation between us.
“I would like to once again thank His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, for the privilege of being here today. Together, we take another step forward in our relationship.”
We’re meeting to officially sign the peace agreements between us.
To turn this peace into an active friendship.
Economic, security, diplomatic, and civilian.
¬¬I want to thank the King of Bahrain, His Royal Highness Hamid bin Isa Al Khalifa,
for his leadership and inspiration without which we would not be here today.
I also want to thank the Crown Prince and Prime Minister,
Sheikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, for his wisdom and vision.
The meeting we finished just a short while ago was warm and optimistic.
It outlined the path forward for our relations.
In the Bahraini national anthem, you sing that Bahrain is a symbol of harmony.
We will do everything to turn the partnership between Bahrain and Israel into a harmony, of cultures and religions,
And primarily, a harmony between people.
The official opening of embassies which will symbolize the diplomatic cooperation between us.
More cooperation in the fields of tourism and technology,
culture, energy and environmental protection.
In the fields of health and water.
¬¬We are both tough peoples. We made life flourish in the heart of the desert.
We did this because we know how to adapt to a changing reality.
Today, it is our responsibility to build for our children a future of prosperity and progress.
Bahrain, like Israel, carries an ancient history together with remarkable capabilities in the new technological world.
The first Gulf Air flight which departed today to Tel Aviv, is taking us all to places which in the past, we were only able to dream of.
Our opportunities are shared.
Our threats are also shared,
and they aren’t far from here.
The global battle today isn’t between right and left,
Or between Judaism and Islam or Christianity.
The global battle today is between moderates and extremists.
A culture of life, against a culture of death and destruction.
Together with our friends in the Gulf, we are leading a brave coalition of moderates.
A coalition that is looking forward and creating a prosperous future of stability and tolerance.
We are living in a global reality.
Whoever isolates, will disappear.
Whoever cooperates, will lead the world, and will lead the Middle East.
This is an historic moment, and a reminder that
History is made by people who know history,
who love and respect history,
but are also ready to change and make history.
History is made by people who prefer the future over the past.
Who prefer peace over war.
Who prefer connection over isolation.
The Book of Proverbs, (Chapter Three, Verse 18) says: “It is a tree of life to those who hold fast to it, and all of its supporters are happy.”
עץ החיים – שאזאראת אל הייאט. Shajarat Al-Hayat.
The Tree of Life has been standing firm here in Bahrain for over 400 years.
Its roots are deep and it towers high.
May the partnership between us grow deep roots,
and give fruit for many good years to come.
We already have a model for that partnership:
For over a hundred years, the Jewish community of Bahrain has been a symbol of coexistence, tolerance and harmony.
Proof that Bahrain's values are in deeds and not only words.
I want to once again thank His Majesty King Hamid bin Isa Al Khalifa and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Prime Minister,
for the privilege of being here today.
Together we taking another step forward in our relations.
I want to thank the team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director-General Alon Ushpiz, Head of Mission in Manama Itay Tagner,
and to everyone involved in building the foundations for the connection between Bahrain and Israel.
Thank You, Shukran, As-salamu alaykum.
Photos :FM Lapid at the joint press conference with Bahraini FM Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani .
Photo credit : GPO/Shlomi Amsalem .
- Written by Silvia
The Embassy of Nepal held its National Day Celebration at the Ambassador’s residence in Herzliya on Monday evening, The festively lit garden was the stage for an important anniversary--the chance to celebrate 60 years of Israel-Nepal relations.
Guests were delighted to get a taste of Nepali culture, with traditional candles, music, and authentic Nepali dishes. The formal ceremony opened with the candle lighting
Nadav Ben Yehuda, Israel’s most accomplished high altitude mountaineer who serves as Honorary Public Relations Representative of the Nepal Tourism Board, opened the formal ceremony. Mr. Ben Yehuda pointed out that while it was Nepal’s National Day, it was not Independence Day, as Nepal is one of the rare countries to never have been colonized.
Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Arjun Ghimire then took the stage, delighting the guests by walking out singing to traditional Nepali music accompaniment. The national anthems of Nepal and Israel were played, followed by a traditional candle lighting ceremony.
H.E. Dr. Anjan Shakya, the ambassador of Nepal, began her speech with introductions in an impressively fluent Hebrew. The ambassador spoke about the connections between Israel and Nepal, from the lowest point on earth (Dead Sea) to the highest (Mount Everest). The ambassador highlighted the growth of bilateral cooperation in the areas of agriculture, labor, art, culture, education, business and more.
Ambassador Shakya said that with its focus on gender diversity, approximately 40% of Nepal’s political decision makers are female, making it one of the global leaders in that regard. It is also one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. With ten UNESCO world heritage sites, some of the largest mountains in the world, and best preserved natural areas, Nepal is “the perfect travel destination for a post-Covid vacation” according to the ambassador.
Knesset Member Michal Shir, chairwoman of the Israel-Nepal parliamentary friendship group spoke next, offering congratulations on 61 years of bilateral cooperation, blessings for a successful coming year, and a commitment that the cooperation between the countries would only continue to grow.
Minister Eli Avidar then offered remarks on behalf of the government and people of Israel. Mr. Avidar recalled that Nepal was the first South Asian country to recognize Israel, with then prime minister BP Koirala meeting Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben Gurion, in 1960. Among the many areas of bilateral cooperation, the minister cited health, education, tourism, and security, “signs of the true friendship between our people.”
The minister also mentioned critical Mashav agricultural courses with thousands of graduates bringing knowledge and experience back to Nepal. Minister Avidar announced the plans to open a center in Nepal for bringing agricultural technological know-how from Israel to Nepal. Other important links between the countries that the minister mentioned include the many Israelis who choose Nepal as a travel destination, creating “social bridges,” and “friendships that last for generations”, Nepali caregivers providing services for the elderly in Israel, and the presence of troops from Nepal in regional UN peacekeeping missions UNIFIL and UNDOF. Following these remarks, a toast was raised to the success of Nepal and Israel.
In addition to the speeches, there were some memorable moments of recognition. First an award was given to Ms. Adina Gottesman, who served as Nepal’s honorary consul in Israel for 14 years, providing consular support to Israeli and Nepali citizens until the opening of the embassy of Nepal in Tel Aviv in 2007.
This event also served as the book launch for a special anthology overseen by the Embassy of Nepal in honor of the 60th anniversary of Israel-Nepal relations, with articles spanning from tourism to medical and humanitarian aid to Nepali soldiers who fought with the British Army in the region during World War I. Many of the contributing authors were in attendance for the occasion, and all guests received a copy of this unique Diamond Jubilee commemorative book.
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Nepal’s first honorary consul Adina Gottesman; Honorary Consul Nimrod Berger; Ambassador Gil Haskel, head of protocol and former director of Mashav; Rafael Harpaz, deputy director general of the Asia Pacific department of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Mr. David Freeman, Jerusalem Representative of the Baha'i community; Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, president of the Ambassadors’ club; Dr. Michael Oren, former ambassador of Israel to the United States; Major General (Res) Matan Vilnai; Raviv Baron, President of the Israel-India & Nepal Chamber of Commerce; Anat Bernstein-Reich, Chairperson of the Israel-India & Nepal Chamber of Commerce, and many members of the diplomatic corps in Israel.
The Staff of www.diplomacy.co.il congratulates the government, people, and Embassy of NEPAL on the occasion of their National Day
Photos Silvia Golan
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