- Written by Silvia G. Golan
Last Sunday (1.3.2020) the Embassy of India with the cooperation of the Museum of Jewish people (Beit Hatfuzot) held an memorable event with the Paradesi Jewish community and screened the documentary "Sarah, Thaha, Thoufeek".
The film showcases a heartwarming real life story of human companionship.
Sarah Cohen, the oldest surviving Paradesi Jew in Mattancherry, Kochi (Kochi is in the state of Kerala in India); Thaha Ibrahim, a local tailor who helped Sarah with her embroidery work, including making kippahs, and looked after her; and Thoufeek Zakriya, an aspiring chef with interest in Hebrew calligraphy who laboured to make copies of the Torah.
Directed by Sarath Kottikkal and produced by Thomas Kottackakom, the film was screened on 1 March at Beit Hatfutsot, Israel’s Museum of the Jewish People, in the presence of Ambassador Sanjeev Singla, Mr. Dan Tadmor, CEO of Beithatfutsot, Sarah’s friends and family that included her niece Becky Finkelstein and her grand nephew Yaakov Finkelstein, Israel’s Consul General in Mumbai.
Sarah Cohen died on August 30, 2019. She voted in India’s general elections in April 2019 at the age of 96.
The team that made the film comprises two time National Award Winning sound designer, Justin Jose who worked on Bollywood box-office wonders like “Bahubali”, “Bajirao Mastani” and “Padmaavat” and Producer Thomas Kottackakom who was awarded in the 60th National Film Awards for “101 Chodyangal”.
Photos Credit Alon Gergo
- Written by President’s Spokesperson’s Office
Over 40 global leaders gathered for an official dinner hosted by President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin at Beit HaNasi in honor of the World Holocaust Forum
President Rivlin to the assembled leaders:
“This is a historic gathering, not only for Israel and the Jewish People, but for all humanity. This evening as we remember the victims of the Holocaust, and World War Two, we also mark the victory of freedom and human dignity”
“I hope and pray that from this room, the message will go out to every country on earth, that the leaders of the world will stand united in the fight against racism, antisemitism and extremism, in de-fending democracy and democratic values. This is the call of our time. This is our challenge. This is our choice”
For the first time in history, over 40 global leaders gathered for an official dinner hosted by President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin tonight, Wednesday 22 January / 25 Tevet, at Beit HaNasi in honor of the World Holocaust Forum. President Rivlin, the official host of the events delivered remarks tonight, as did HM King Felipe VI of Spain and Israel Prize laureate Prof Yehuda Bauer. Among the honored guests were the President of France, the President of Germany, the President of Italy and many others. Among the Israeli dignitaries were the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Chairman of the World Holocaust Forum, the Chairman of Yad Vashem, Rabbi Yisrael Lau, Benny Gantz, the Speaker of the Knesset, the IDF Chief of Staff, the President of the Supreme Court and the Mayor of Jerusalem.
The evening began with a reception with the president welcoming each guest as they arrived with a handshake. The guests went from the reception to their places at the table for the official dinner. “Welcome to the official dinner in honor of the 5th World Holocaust Forum, under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel,” began the evening’s compere, Yael Lavie. “The World Holocaust Forum marks International Holocaust Day in memories of the victims of the Shoah, and the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The State of Israel deeply appreciates the fact that so many world leaders are participating in this forum to ensure we turn remembrance of the past into the promise of the future.”
In honor of the occasion, a special film was screened to the guests with comments by 44 world leaders calling for Holocaust remembrance and the fight against antisemitism which have been brought together in a unique book published by Yad Vashem and the World Holocaust Forum.
The president began his remarks by saying, “On behalf of the State of Israel and the People of Israel, welcome to Jerusalem. Thank you all for being here. This is a historic gathering, not only for Israel and the Jewish People, but for all humanity. This evening as we remember the victims of the Holocaust, and World War Two, we also mark the victory of freedom and human dignity.”
He concluded: “The future lies in the choices we make, especially, those we make together, as countries and nations. I hope and pray that from this room, the message will go out to every country on earth, that the leaders of the world will stand united in the fight against racism, antisemitism and extremism, in de-fending democracy and democratic values. This is the call of our time. This is our challenge. This is our choice.”
After the first course was served, David D’Or, Miri Mesika and Amir Benayoun performed the song ‘The Last Survivor’, written in 2018 for the Knesset delegation to the March of the Living by Amir Benayoun with words by Moshe Klughaft. The song, performed in English and Hebrew, is a moving testament to Holocaust survivor who are a living bridge to the world that was destroyed and the world that was rebuilt.
The opening to the song was played on a violin owned by Holocaust survivor Itzhak Reider ז"ל a talented musician living Warsaw when war broke out. Itzhak hid from the Nazis but continued to play together with a German friend. The same friend smuggled him from Poland to Belarus with a fake passport but Itzhak was caught on the way by the SS. They forced him to play for them and thus decided to let him live. He hid in a hole in Belarus and and fled from the Nazis once again, making his way to Moscow. His violin was left behind. Itzhak’s entire family was murdered by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto and in Auschwitz, but he managed to rebuild his life through music and became a noted professor, had a family and immigrated to Israel. In 1973, a stranger knocked on his door and returned his lost violin to his son Vladimir, without saying a word.
In his speech on behalf of the leaders, HM King Felipe VI of Spain said, “Having a precious, rich and complex Jewish past and a vibrant Jewish community, Spain decided to create a solid framework of rules and initiatives to fight relentlessly against antisemitism and every form of xenophobia and racism. There are, of course, many more Nations ─both present here and others─ that are making similar efforts and progress; but, while I remain optimistic, I know ─we all know─ that we will always need to persevere together so that those words we have repeated so many times, “never again”, remain our guiding and unwithering principle.”
Shlomi Shaban then performed a special arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Dance Me to the End of Love’. The song was written when Cohen heard testimonies of survivors of death camps who spoke about string ensembles whose members were forced to play as prisoners were marched to their death in the gas chambers. Shlomi Shaban is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor who survived Dr. Josef Mengele’s medical experiments, Helena Adler Moskovich. In Auschwitz she was sent to work in the camp’s kitchen where she smuggled scraps of food to other prisoners and helped them survive.
The event ended with a group photograph of the assembled leader, after which dessert was served.
Photo credit: Koby Gideon (GPO)
More pics at Facebook Israel Diplo
- Written by Silvia
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Thailand H.E. Mrs. Pannabha Chandraramya
President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Gambia, Thailand, El Salvador and Benin as they take up their posts in Israel
President Rivlin to the ambassador of Gambia, the home country of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court:
“The IDF is us, our children and grandchildren, and it is the most moral army in the world."
“Too often, political decisions are taken in international institutions on the basis of a political need to criticize Israel, and not on the facts”
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Thursday 9 January / 12 Tevet, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Gambia, Thailand, El Salvador and Benin as they take up their posts in Israel. As each ambassador arrived, their national anthem and Hatikva was played by the Israel Police Band and they reviewed an IDF honor guard. After presenting their letters of credence and an audience with the president, the ambassadors signed the Beit HaNasi guest book, ending the official ceremony.
The first to present their letters of credence to the president was Ambassador Pannabha Chandraramya of Thailand. The president welcomed her on her arrival in Israel and asked to send his regards to King Rama X. “We have excellent relations in fields such as agriculture, security, trade, tourism and education,” said the president. “The cooperation between Mashav and TIKA, the countries’ respective international development agencies, is bringing great benefit to people throughout South-East Asia. The ambassador thanked the president, saying that she hoped that there would be additional direct flights between Israel and Thailand, increasing the cooperation between the countries in a range of fields, as well as tourism.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of El Salvador H.E. Mr.Hector Enrique Celarie Landaverde
Hector Enrique Celarie Landaverde, the new ambassador of El Salvador, was next to present his credentials to the president. “We will always remember how your Consul in Geneva, Colonel José Castellanos, saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust,” said the president and noted the possibilities for widening the cooperation in the fields of agriculture, water technology and security.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Benin H.E. Mrs. Evelyne Togbe-Olory
Ambassador Evelyne Togbe-Olory of Benin, who is resident in Rome, was next to be received by the president. The ambassador thanked the president for his welcome, saying “I have no doubt that when we meet in person, we understand each other better, and that is what I will do in my role as ambassador.”
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Gambia H.E. Mr. Francis Rene Blain of The Gambia
The last ambassador to present his credentials to the president was Francis Rene Blain of The Gambia, the home country of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In this regard, the president said, “At today’s ceremony, you saw the IDF honor guard, made up of our finest young people. They protect us and our country. The IDF is us, our children and grandchildren; we do not have a professional army. The IDF is the protector of the citizens of the State of Israel, and it is our duty as a state to defend our citizens, just as we yearn for peace with our neighbors.” The president continued, “We instruct our soldiers to be good professionals and to be ethical and human. As ambassador, and especially as an experienced ambassador like you, you able to see the complex security challenges Israel faces. I am sure that you will appreciate the way in which we face these challenges while maintaining high moral standards. The IDF is the most moral army in the world, despite the challenges it faces.”
The president added that he hoped the ambassador’s extensive experience would help him clarify matters to all the current and former officials in The Gambia, including those serving in The Hague. He added, “too often, political decisions are taken in international institutions on the basis of a political need to criticize Israel, and not on the facts. I would be glad if the facts were what guided you, because sometimes a vote has a political significance that does not serve the truth.”
Photo Credit: Koby Gideon (GPO)
- Written by Eliran Ben Yair & Silvia Golan
On January 16th, 2020, the Embassy of Croatia in Israel launched the Croatian presidency of the Council of European Union and celebrated the 28th anniversary of the international recognition of the independence of the republic of Croatia.
H.E. Mrs. Versela Mrden Korac, the Ambassador of Croatia in Israel and the Ambassadors’ Club of Israel helds a reception to mark the occasion with the Kozahinof family at the “Beresheet Bavli Tower,” the most prestigious residential tower in TLV.
Mr. Emanuele Giaufret, the head of the EU delegation in Israel representing the European Union and Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, President of the Ambassadors’ Club of Israel and former Israeli Ambassador to Denmark, the Council of Europe and UNESCO) were the honored guests . Among the many other distinguished guests of the event were also Mr. Roy Schlesinger (son of Samuel Schlesinger, Honorary Consul of Croatia), Itsik Kamilian, CEO of the Ambassadors Club of Israel (ACI), members of the “Beresheet Bavli Tower” Project such as President and Chairperson Mrs. Nurit Kozahinof, her son Moti Kozahinof, the CEO, Mr. Dan Catarivas, Director General – Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel head of International Relations at the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations (FIEO), Mrs. Anna Azari (Deputy Director General Europe Division Israel MFA), Mr. Adi Baruch (Senior Counsel of Government Ministries), Mrs. Tony Levy (Director of Foreign Relations and Innovation at the President's Office), Miran Denac Ph.D. (SVP, head of Israel & APAC operations, TGO) ,representative of the Israeli Police Mr. Moti Meiry (The Yarkon Space Police Security and Licensing Officer), members of the Croatian Embassy in Israel such as: Mrs. Lada Curkovic (first secretary), Goran Vidosrich (Cultural attache), and a variety of distinguished business leaders and diplomats.
The event began with time to mingle as Croatian products that are going to be sold in Israel, including kosher drinks and wine, were served. The formal part of the event started when Ambassador Versela Mrden Korac welcomed the guests on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the International recognition of Croatia and launching the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Israel, noting their motto: “A strong Europe in a World of Challenges” and their will to: “ balance the regional developments, protect the environment by fighting climate change, build stronger transport, energy and digital connectivity, aim for the comprehensive approach to migration and stronger resilience to hybrid and cyber threats, promote European values, advance security and defense cooperation and to improve the European leading role globally.” The ambassador also added that Croatia has a responsibility to its south eastern neighbors in “encouraging reforms and contributing to the sustainable stability in our wider region.” The ambassador mentioned her plans to implement a project with " Yad Vashem ".
Mrs. Korac also thanked to Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, President of the Ambassadors’ Club of Israel for the his initiative and partnering in the organization of the event, to the Kozahinof family for offering to host the event at the glorious “Beresheet Bavli “ compound, Mr. Roy Schlesinger the son of the Honorary Consul Mr. Shmuel Schlesinger, and to Bura Consulting and the Orbico Group for bringing some new Croatian food samples such as Fish, Zigante Truffles and some great kosher wines to Israel.
After this, Mrs. Emanuele Giaufret (head of the EU delegation to Israel ) spoke about his proximity to Croatia, which was the first country he served as a diplomat. He welcomed the new Croatian EU Representation and in his remarks he spoke about the importance of the Holocaust Day and said that: “ the importance of Holocaust Remembrance from the European side with the aim of working against anti-Semitism and not forgetting the past is an important goal that the EU must fulfill.”
Mr. Moti Kozahinof also welcomed the guests who came to the prestigious complex, and especially the ambassadors club of Israel (ACI) and wished Croatia good luck in the new role. The sales manager of the project, Mr. Oved Zangi, added that “We are pleased to host you in the complex of the largest and most prestigious housing project in Israel“.
After the speeches came the delicious part of the event which included tasting of Croatian foods that are going to be sold in Israel. And finally a beautiful cake in honor of the 9th anniversary celebration of the Ambassadors Club of Israel was cut for the guests.
Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Embassy of Croatia and the Ambassadors Club on the memorable occasion.
Eliran Ben Yair (member of Debate for Peace)
Photos by Silvia Golan
- Written by Spokesperson of the President's Office
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Kazakhstan H.E. Mr. Satybaldy Burshakov
President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Austria, Cambodia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Angola to the State of Israel as they take up their positions
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Wednesday 18 December / 20 Kislev, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Austria, Cambodia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Angola to the State of Israel as they take up their positions, in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi. As each ambassador arrived, their national anthem was played by the Israel Police Band and they reviewed an IDF honor guard. After presenting their letters of credence and an audience with the president, the ambassadors signed the Beit HaNasi guest book, and Hatikva was played at the end of the ceremony.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Belarus H.E. Mr. Evgeny Semyonovich Vorobyev
The first to present his credentials to the president was the Ambassador of Belarus, Evgeny Semyonovich Vorobyev. The president welcomed him to Israel and mentioned the many Israeli public figures and artists who were born and grew up in Belarus, and who with more recent immigrants are a living bridge between the two countries today. “We appreciate Belarus’ efforts to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and hope that Belarus will adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism,” said the president. Ambassador Vorobyev thanked the president and said that he hoped to extend the relations and cooperation between the two countries.
Next, Ambassador Satybaldy Burshakov of Kazakhstan presented his credentials. “We will never forget the bravery of the Kazakh people, which gave shelter to thousands of Jews during the Holocaust,” said the president. “Both Israel and Kazakhstan place great value on religious tolerance. At a time when antisemitism is rising around the world, we appreciate all that Kazakhstan is doing to promote inter-religious dialogue,” he added.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Angola H.E. Mr. Osvaldo dos Santos Varela
The next to arrive at Beit HaNasi was the Ambassador of Angola, Osvaldo dos Santos Varela. The president noted the strong bilateral relations between the two countries, and expressed his hope that they would be reflected in Angola’s voting at the United Nations. The president added, “We are working to deepen our strategic partnership with Africa, including by resuming Israel’s status as an Observer State in the African Union. This a shared interest, which can bring great benefits to the State of Israel and to the nations of Africa,” he added.
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Austria H.E. Dr. Hannah Liko
Dr. Hannah Liko, the Austrian Ambassaador to Israel who was accompanied by her cousin, many members of whose family were victims of the Holocaust, then presented her credentials to the president. “I know you are committed to Israel’s security and to regional stability, including sending soldiers to UN peace keeping forces,” said the president. “We therefore, ask you to take steps in the EU and UN against Iranian and Hezbollah terror in the region.”
Referring to the rise of anti-Semtism in Europe, the president said, “We are concerned by the rise of anti-Semitism in the corridors of power throughout Europe, including Austria. I look forward to seeing your president next month at the ceremony at Yad Vashem, where we will call to fight antisemitism wherever it appears.”
The ambassador thanked the president, saying “Our responsibility for Nazi crimes will always be a significant part of our relations. We honor the victims and fight anti-Semitism in all its forms.” She also added that she was glad the relations between the two countries are strong and developing further. “Over 200,000 Israelis visited Austria this year,” she said, adding with a smile, “and of course we are proud that an Austrian is the coach of your national soccer team and that we have two Israeli soccer players in our premier league.”
Photo: President Rivlin with Ambassador of Cambodia H.E. Mr. Khoun Phon Rattanak
Ambassador Khoun Phon Rattanak of Cambodia was the last to present his credentials. “Israel and Cambodia enjoy good relations,” said the president at the beginning of his remarks. “Many Cambodian students and farmers come to Israel to participate in agricultural training, and we are very interested in increasing Israel’s partnership with all of the ACMECS countries in fields such as agriculture, health, cyber and innovation,” he said.
The Cambodian ambassador thanked the president for his words, saying, “I bring best regards from the King and Prime Minister. It is a true honor to be ambassador here, a land rich in culture and history. On behalf of the Cambodian people, we express our appreciation for your kind support for our agricultural sector which is leading us to impressive achievements. We look forward to working together on health to help our rural communities.”
Photo credits: Mark Neiman (GPO)