Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, this evening (Tuesday, 3 July 2018), attended an event in honor of American Independence Day hosted by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

"It's a wonderful celebration of 4th of July anytime in Israel but this year it's special. This year President Trump moved the embassy after declaring Jerusalem Israel's capital. In the UN -- a powerful defense of Israel day in, day out.

And you remember that Iran nuclear deal? Remember that? President Trump decided to leave this bad deal and he did the greatest thing for the security of the world and for the security of Israel. Now, you should know that this is not yet universally accepted. And I can tell you that this week there's going to be a meeting and the meeting is going to be in Europe. Can you hear me? You got to hear this. Listen to me carefully. There is a meeting this week by the P4 without the United States. They are going to discuss how to go around the decision that President Trump and the United Stated made to leave this bad deal, which is funding Iran's terrorism and its aggression with billions of dollars.


There is in the same week something extraordinary. The P4 invited Iran's President Rouhani to attend that meeting. But at the same time, in recent days, this same regime dispatched a terrorist cell to carry out a major terrorist action in France. The commander of this terrorism cell was an Iranian diplomat in Austria. Fortunately, the plot was exposed. The cell's Iranian members were arrested in France, Belgium, and Germany. France and Germany are part of the P4. At the time of their capture, the cell members had explosives, detonators and more. European authorities are now completing their investigation and are expected to charge the Iranian agents and cell members behind the plot.

This Iranian terror plot was planned on the soil of Europe on the same week that the European leaders are supposed to meet the President of Iran about circumventing the sanctions on Iran. Here's my message to the European leaders: Stop funding the very regime that is sponsoring terrorism against you and against so many others. Stop appeasing Iran.

This is what President Trump has said but he's gone well beyond saying it. This is what he is doing. And we in Israel can appreciate this.

We're grateful for America's independence. We're grateful for America's strength. We're grateful for America's alliance with Israel.



Now, you know I'm both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister so I can tell you: We have relations with 160 countries and some of these are terrific friends. But there is no friendship like the friendship between Israel and the United States of America. American has no greater friend than Israel. Israel has no greater friend than America.

What makes this alliance so powerful? So enduring? What makes it so? Well, one thing – common values. We have common values that are clear – it's freedom, liberty, democracy. These aren't hollow slogans. They are the bedrock of Western civilization. They're the secret of America's success and of Israel's success. They're the secret of our ingenuity – Israel's and America – the big leaders of technology in the world. I'm a diplomat so I have to be careful. There are only two places, they say, where everything is happening. We have tremendous respect for American ingenuity, for American creativity, for American mobility, for American capacities in every field.  And we know where that comes from. It comes from a free society, from free discussion. We argue about everything. Believe me, I know. We have a free press. Believe me, I know. We have free speech. We have freedom of religion. Freedom, liberty, democracy. Real values. Here's what the Liberty Bell says, inscribed on it: 'Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all of its Inhabitants'.  We know that phrase. It comes from the Bible. It comes from Leviticus. So much of America's heritage is rooted in the Hebrew Bible. It is in the Bible that our prophets consoled us. They said the exiles will be gathered back to our ancient homeland. We will restore our national life here. We will restore our capital Jerusalem.



And 70 years later, President Trump brought the embassy to Jerusalem. David, I have one message for you. I have one request: Next year in Jerusalem. This is a fine and beautiful hall, immaculately done. Next year in Jerusalem right next to the American embassy. There can't be a more glorious gathering with greater friends.

Thank you all. God bless America. God bless Israel and God bless the alliance between America and the State of Israel."



Photos by Silvia G. Golan





Capital Day came early in Tel Aviv, as the Embassy of Kazakhstan to Israel held a reception at the residence of Ambassador Doulat Kuanyshev in Herzliya. Capital City Day is an annual celebration of the establishment of the status of Astana as the new capital city of Kazakhstan. For the last decade, the occasion has been celebrated as a national holiday in Kazakhstan and among Kazakhstan nationals and friends abroad. This year was a milestone anniversary, marking 20 years since the capital first from moved from Almaty.


Diplomats, political and civil society leaders, and others with close ties to Kazakhstan enjoyed a relaxed evening with music, a buffet including traditional Kazakstani dishes like Samsa and Palot, along with top Israeli products.



H.E. Ambassador Kuanyshev spoke about the initial struggles to move the capital city in the 1990s, and about Astana’s success as representative of Kazakhstan’s innovation, growth, and success other the last two decades. The ambassador promised that this growth would continue, citing as an example the Astana International Finance Center as a potential regional hub.


Ambassador Kuanyshev also cited the role that Astana has already played in promoting global peace and prosperity. Astana has hosted a number of historic conferences: OSCE summit; Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, the first summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Science and Technologies, and the  World Expo-2017, as well as the signing of the Treaty on establishing the Eurasian Economic Union.



Among the distinguished guests at the reception were Walter Bingham, Guiness World Record-holding Israel National Radio host; Alexander Ben Zvi- Deputy Director General, Head of the Euro-Asia Division at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Yair Stern, General Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and his wife Dassie, who was born in Kazakhstan. congratulates the Embassy of Kazakhstan and the people of Kazakhstan on the milestone anniversary and offers best wishes for many years of success, growth, and strong bilateral relations.


Ambassador Kuanyshev’s full remarks:



Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends!

Thank you for honoring us with your gracious presence. We are here to mark the 20th anniversary of the Сapital city of Kazakhstan – Astana.

In 1995, when Kazakhstan was under IMF program, IMF mission was pressing President Nazarbayev to postpone all the plans of moving the capital citing huge economic burden. I was present at those highly confidential and heated negotiations in my capacity of the press-secretary to the President who stood firm.

Over these two decades, extensive efforts have been done to build a new capital almost from scratch. Nowadays, Astana is the symbol of Kazakhstan and the flagship of its development.

Astana’s become an urbanization of over a million of people, a model of modern architecture and design, center of healthcare, education and innovations. Moreover, it aims to become the Dubai of Central Asia by creating Astana International Financial Center.

It is our hope, and Astana hosts a lot of hope: from large-scale development initiatives: the Silk Road Economic Belt was announced by Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s on his state visit to Astana in 2013, to world peace and accord – through the religious leaders (including Chief Rabbis of Israel) regularly meeting in Astana to promote inter-confessional dialogue, to a hope of mediating Syrian talks.

During these years Astana hosted the Summit of the OSCE, the historic Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which culminated with the accession of India and Pakistan into this influential organization, the first summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Science and Technologies. The Treaty on establishing the Eurasian Economic Union was also signed in Astana.

In 2017, Astana hosted World EXPO-2017 exhibition, with high-profile Israeli presence.

As you may know, Israelis as well as citizens of 66 other countries can visit Kazakhstan without visas. We hope to sign the same regime for Kazakh tourists to Israel by the end of this year. I am confident it will imminently call for direct flights between our countries to boost reciprocal tourism and exchanges. So, taking this opportunity, I would like to invite you all to our country to taste our hospitality and kindness, and join the large-scale celebration events to be held in Astana on July 6.

Steven Aiello
Photos by Silvia G. Golan




120 was the magic number on Tuesday evening June 5th, as the Embassy of the Philippines in Israel celebrated 120 years of national independence. Authentic cuisine from the Philippines added a special flavor to the evening, while top Filipino singers provided musical entertainment. Guests were escorted by embassy staff in traditional clothing past a colorful array of photographs of the Philippines, adding a visual connection.

After the singing of both countries’ national anthems, H.E. Ambassador Nathaniel Imperial opened his remarks with a greeting to the distinguished guests on this festive anniversary, invoking the ethos of the foreign policy of the Philippines: “friends to all and enemies to none.” Ambassador Imperial explained that in addition to its dedication to the regional ASEAN alliance, the Philippines continues to promote foreign relations with countries all over the world, paving the way for several new embassies and consulates. This includes a consulate opening in West Jerusalem under the leadership of honorary consul Mr. Shimon Weinbaum.


Ambassador Imperial spoke of how the courageous saving of Jews during the Holocaust, and subsequent vote for the 1947 Partition Plan, set the tone for future relations with Israel. Today that goodwill has been transformed into robust trade, labor, and tourism cooperation between the two nations. Ambassador Imperial cited recent delegations of business leaders from the Philippines and sponsorship in the annual International Mediterranean Tourism Market conference as examples of these burgeoning relationships and expressed hope that direct flights between Israel and the Philippines are on the horizon.

Ambassador Imperial described how the two countries already happen one another, with 24,000 Filipino residents working as caregivers all around Israel, and the Mashav program providing training for hundreds of agricultural students from the Philippines each year. He also mentioned a partnership with the Bialik Rogozin school in Tel Aviv to provide language, culture, and history classes for Filipino students who have been born or lived for significant periods of their lives in Israel.

Meron Reuben, chief of state protocol in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke on behalf of the Israeli government. Reuben noted that in addition to 120 years, the two nations were celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations. He also expressed hope for continued agricultural cooperation and thanked the thousands of caretakers from the Philippines for working hard to take care of the elderly in Israel.



Ambassador Imperial and Mr. Reuben raised a toast to the well-being of both nations. Ambassador Imperial then brought out a plaque of gratitude, which he bestowed upon the Honorary Consul in Haifa, Mr. Carmel Hacohen. The text of the commendation read:




The guests then heard live performances by Mr. Howie Danao, a finalist on the program “Israel’s Next Rising Star” and well-known pop singer Mr. Rannie Raymundo, as they enjoyed a full dinner menu including delicacies from the Philippines, like Batchoy.


The distinguished guests in attendance included Menashe Bar-On, former Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines; Dr. Eli Fischer, CEO of the Dr. Fischer Group; Mr. Boaz Waksman, chairman of Ophir Tours Ltd.; the honorary consul of Haifa; Rafael Harpaz; director of the Europe-Asia department of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Arye Granot, merger and acquisitions manager at Diesenhaus, along with numerous diplomats and other dignitaries. wishes the Embassy of the Philippines and the people of the Philippines congratulations on the 120-year celebration, and hopes for many more years of success.

Steven Aiello
Photos by Silvia G Golan




Embassy of Slovenia Celebrates its National Day with an Exclusive Panel and Exhibition at the Diaspora Museum

The Embassy of Slovenia in Israel celebrated its national day in fitting fashion, with a celebration in the Beit Hatfutzot Museum which included a special panel and exhibition.

The event highlighted Jewish history of Slovenia, as well as the strong cooperation between Israel and Slovenia at the governmental and cultural levels. Several ministries within the Slovenian government supported the event, along with the Milko Kos historical institute, the Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue in Maribor, and of course Israel Beit Hatfuzot Museum (the museum of the Diaspora).

During the panel, Slovenian researchers and historians Dr. Renato Podbersič and Prof. Boris Hajdinjak discussed the Jewish presence in Slovenia throughout history, with a focus on World War I. Prof. Hajdinjak talked about the importance of Maribor for Jews, as a key point between Vienna and Venice. Dr. Podbersič’s remarks were on the exhibition, which highlights the experience of Jewish soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian army who fought on the Isonzo front during World War I. The panel was moderated by editor, historian, and journalist Mr. Oren Nahari.



The evening was about more than just history, however, with a focus on bilateral cooperation and friendship in the present, and an even greater focus on the future. The Embassy of Slovenia marked, in particular, the recent World Bee Day on May 20th, as a Slovenian-led effort at the United Nation to recognize the importance of bees to nature and humanity.

Ambassador Sušnik opened her remarks first by offering congratulations for the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel and for Israel’s multifaceted successes. The ambassador noted recent achievements in bilateral relations between in Israel and Slovenia, particularly in tourism, economy, cultural exchange and scientific cooperation.

Invoking the fundamental belief in the right to self-determination of every nation, which underpins the Slovenian proclamation of independence and the Slovenian national anthem, the ambassador expressed the support of Slovenia for Israel, as well as efforts to establish peace and stability in the Middle East through a negotiated two-state solution. Ambassador Sušnik noted that Slovenia condemns recent attacks on Israeli territories, but is also concerned each time civilians are killed.

Michael Oren, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke on behalf of Israel. Deputy Minister Oren remarked on the commonalities between Israel and Slovenia -- similar geographic size, liberal democratic governance, preservation of ancient cultures and languages. Recognizing Slovenia’s initiative in pioneering World Bee Day, Oren pointed out that Israel also shared this concern for sustainability.

The deputy minister observed that Slovenia’s Port of Koper was Israel’s entry point for exports to central Europe and that Israeli tourism to Slovenia continues to rise. He expressed his hope that Israel would open an embassy in Slovenia soon. Oren finished by thanking Ambassador Susnik and her staff for their work to promote bilateral relations and wishing peace, security, prosperity, and success to the nation of Slovenia on this important occasion.



Following the speeches, the jazz band of Gašper Bertoncelj, a Slovenian jazz musician, performed the national anthems of Slovenia and Israel. Guests then enjoyed a reception in honor of Slovenia’s national day.

The distinguished guests in attendance included Josef and Anita Weiss, owners of Adria Airways; Meron Reuben, chief of state protocol in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Adi Rosenfeld, Honorary Consul of Slovenia; Myron ReDror Dotan, President of the Israel-Slovenia Chamber of Commerce; Israeli Ambassador Eyal Sela; Ambassador Dr. Rodika Radian-Gordon ; Conductor Ronen Nissan, and Jazz musician Gasper Bertoncelj. wishes the Embassy of Slovenia and the people of Slovenia congratulations on their national day, and hopes for many more years of success.

 Steven Aiello
Photos by Silvia G. Golan


The Italian Embassy in Israel opened its annual Festa Della Repubblica celebration with a gala evening at the Ambassador’s residence in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan. World class jazz music by Italian performers and a menu featuring pasta, pizza, gelato, and imported Italian chocolates, cheeses, and wines were enjoyed by a diverse guest list.

The Ambassadors’ residence was adorned in Italy’s national colors, with flags and banners, and as the sun set, red, white and green colored lights. After ample time to enjoy the reception, elegant music, and ambiance, Mr. Massimo Sarti, the Director of the Tel Aviv branch of the Italian Institute, opened the ceremony, welcoming the distinguished guests before calling on the Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Gianluigi Benedetti to make his formal remarks.

Ambassador Benedetti began by noting that both the modern states of Israel and Italy shared the distinction of being founded in the ashes of World War II, and on bedrocks of much older cultural and historical roots. In that regard, this was a joint celebration of 70 years of impressive achievements on a range of fronts: economic; technological; cultural; social.

The ambassador remarked on the contributions of Jewish Italians to the success of Italy. He thanked particularly those who had fought the Nazis as part of the Jewish Brigade, who were recently awarded the Medaglia d’Oro al Valor Militare by the Italian Parliament.

Moving on to modern geopolitics, the ambassador stressed Italy’s role in the European Union, its status as the third largest economy in the Eurozone, and 8th largest in the world. Ambassador Benedetti pointed out that Italy is a great place to live as well, ranked the healthiest in the world by the Bloomberg Global Health Index.

Ambassador Benedetti mentioned that Italy and Italians have also contributed to Israel’s success in a variety of areas, from helping develop drip irrigation technology, to serving in UN missions on Israel’s borders. Israeli-Italian cooperation ranges from trade to culture, to defense, with the most recent high profile example being the Giro d’Italia biking competition that incorporated an Israeli route for the first time.

Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, spoke on behalf of the Israeli government. Offering his congratulations, Minister Steinitz remarked on the long history of the Jewish community in Italy, as well as the current strength of Israeli-Italian relations. He singled out two prominent examples of bilateral cooperation. Firstly, the use of Italian training jets by the Israeli air force shows the great trust that Israel has in Italy and Italian technological innovation. Secondly, the still in the development plan to construct a Mediterranean pipeline transporting gas from Israel to Italy, that would eventually be the world’s longest.


After hearing the national anthems of both countries, guests continued to enjoy the Italian cuisine and live music performed by the Saxophone Ensemble of the National Jazz Orchestra of the Italian conservatories together with guest pianist Danilo Rea. Alitalia, Italy’s national airline and one of the evening’s sponsors, raffled off several airline tickets. On their way out guests also received candy decoratively arranged in the form of a red, white, and green flower. The festivities would continue the next day, with live performances by the Saxophone Ensemble of the National Jazz Orchestra on the Tel Aviv beach, made available to the Israeli public.

The annual Festa Della Reppublica celebration was executed by Yahav Sadan Concept events, and included Italian sponsors such as: Alitalia; Alfa Romeo; Alma Aviva; Arte Glideria; Elt; Ferrero Rocher; Hakerem; Italian Aperol; Iveco; Lualdi; Monini; Nutella; Petti; Piaggio; Rummo; Scavolini; Sparkle, and Torteroloere. The distinguished guest list of diplomats, business, political, civil society, and religious leaders, and Italian expatriates and others with Italian ties included Massimiliano Guido, the head of the Italian Trade Agency; Alon Netah, Alitalia country manager for Israel; Dr. Cinzia Klein, the president of the Israeli branch of the Italian Academy of Cuisine, and Vice Delegate Sabrina Fadlun; wishes the Italian Embassy congratulations on Festa Della Reppublica

Photos by Silvia G. Golan