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President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal hosted today the annual Independence Day reception for ambassadors, international representatives and members of the diplomatic corps residing in Israel at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz and other senior officials and dignitaries also participated.

Under the shadow of war and unlike previous years, this year's reception was held in an abbreviated format adapted to the current situation.

The event was attended by ambassadors and representatives from approximately 75 countries around the world, with the participation of Foreign Minister Israel Katz and other Israeli dignitaries. At the official reception, which took place in the courtyard of the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem, special dishes from all over Israel were served, with a focus on businesses in cities and communities most affected by the conflict, as well as companies that have made significant contributions to society during times of war. The plates symbolized the bravery and mutual responsibility demonstrated by so many people during the war:

The participating companies were: 

The owner and head chef of “4 Cheeses” boutique Catering at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, Luis Daskal, who works at Kibbutz Nahal Oz and resides in the neighboring Kibbutz Mefalsim with his family. Since October 7, he and his family have been evacuated, while Luis has enlisted as a member of the kibbutz security and protection unit.

Buza Gelateria, an Arab-Jewish joint venture created in collaboration between Kibbutz Sasa, most of whose residents were evacuated, and the owner of the Aluma restaurant in Tarshiha, Alaa Sweitat. They make quality artisanal ice creams with the taste and aroma of the Galilee.

Smells Like Life, a boutique confectionery located in the city of Netivot. The bakery's exquisite pastries are handmade, mostly by women and men with special needs. Its owner Haim Dimri insists on producing both traditional and new desserts, preserving optimism, in the battle of trying to live in normal times (and not war).

Don Café, a coffee cart company for events, which after October 7, its owner Tal Surkis and his team, decided to dedicate themselves to strengthening IDF soldiers and the Israeli spirit. Since then, he has voluntarily offered his delicious coffee to soldiers, reservists and evacuees from all corners of the country.

Noor, a Druze restaurant opened a few years ago by Basma Hino in the village of Julis, named after her son (which means light in Arabic). With the outbreak of war, Basma, an IDF widow, volunteered to cook for the soldiers and then trained the restaurant so that kashrut-observing soldiers could also enjoy its food. Every week, Basma dedicates one day to cooking for the soldiers.



At the entrance to the presidential residence, a display of 132 yellow T-shirts was placed, symbolizing the cries of the men and women kidnapped and held captive by Hamas, so that anyone who arrives at the president's house could not forget the situation of the kidnapped people. This project was carried out at the initiative of Yael Rosenstein Schneiderman in collaboration with Gal Preparatory School, the preparatory school attended by Agam Berger, who was kidnapped in Gaza. Along with them, other diverse artists participated in the exhibition, including designers and creators from Bezalel, HIT and Shenkar.

The presentation of the project at the Presidential House on Independence Day miraculously elevates the lofty goal for which our sons and daughters fight in the Israel Defense Forces. In his speech, President Herzog welcomed representatives from countries around the world and noted, “These are difficult times,” “however, there is still much to be thankful for on this 76th Israeli Independence Day. Our improbable story in Israel is a story of bold and stubborn hope. A story of how to emerge from the depths, again and again, to build and rebuild the world in the image of our dreams. Hope has always defined us. And he continues to do so now.”

He noted: "When Hamas launched its chain of rapes, murders and kidnappings on October 7, it was not just trying to weaken the State of Israel. He was trying to weaken the pillars of free, open and democratic societies. He was trying to weaken the path of innovation, progress and prosperity. And he was especially trying to weaken the winds of warm peace that were blowing in our region, promising real change. For the security and integrity of every nation, we must not allow this. We must unite as advocates of moderation, democracy and peace. We must speak loudly and forcefully against the shocking rise of anti-Semitism, which is exposing the dangers of corrosive hatred that still lurks in societies around the world. Most importantly, we must stand united as a family of nations and respond decisively to a despicable and ongoing crime against humanity: the cruel kidnapping of men, women and children, of so many different nationalities, for more than 220 days. Our hostages. We call on all nations, all humanity, to act strongly to return home as soon as possible. "The world cannot allow international forums to violate rules, support this evil force or be misused."

He stressed that “true victory in the fight against radical hatred will not only come when we have defeated the terrorists, returned our hostages and rebuilt our communities, but when we have built a new corridor of collaboration and connectivity throughout the Middle East. This can be done. I look forward to working together with all of you to get there.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Israel Katz, also welcomed the guests. Minister Katz noted that Iran was behind the atrocities of October 7th, and stressed that Israel would always defend itself. He concluded that he was convinced that “after the war in Gaza ends, the region will move towards more peace agreements and normalization. I invite everyone, including the Palestinians, to be part of the vision of economic growth and prosperity.”

The event featured the participation of the famous singer Idan Raichel and other artists. And the traditional photo of the President, his wife and Minister Katz with the guests. 

Diplomacy.co.il offers congratulations on the 76th Independence Day of  the State of Israel


 Photos Silvia Golan 

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The occasion of Nowruz–the Persian New Year, an ancient custom dating back to Cyrus the Great in Persepolis in 550 BC–was hosted on Thursday evening at the David Citadel by Dr. David Rustein, Secretary General of the Baha'i in the presence of distinguished ambassadors, public figures, state officials, academics and prominent friends of the movement.  

Transplanted parts of the Baha'i gardens against the backdrop of a large photograph of the Temple with the golden dome, a designated Unesco world heritage site, were on display at the entrance to the banquet hall.

The master of ceremonies, Dr. Arien Sabet, Deputy Secretary General of the World Baha'i opened her speech with a quote expressing that "Tonight we invited light and radiance in addition to passion and kindness". She also stated that members of the Baha'i faith were an inspiration to the world. Following her address, an Austrian violinist whose parents are Baha’i volunteers in Haifa played a composition by Sir Edgar Elgar.


Baha'i Secretary General Dr. David Rutstein then welcomed the guests, with an eloquent and warm greeting, noting that it was a pleasure seeing familiar faces present. He mentioned that due to the carnage of the 7th of October,the organizers of the festival faced a dilemma as to whether to host the reception. A unanimous decision was reached resulting in the affirmative with the intention to bring happiness to the attendees during the few hours of Nowrus celebration. "One of our fundamental precepts is the creation and emphasis of unity".



The guest of honour was the Director General of the Department of the Population and Immigration Authority, Mr. Eyal Siso, a former diplomat who served in New Delhi and visited the Lotus Temple there. He reminisced about his childhood in Haifa and familiarity with the Bahai gardens and temple which he visited. He had the honour of granting thousands of Baha'i pilgrims visas and last year assisted in facilitating delegates who attended the Baha'i  international convention in Haifa. Reiterating Israel's commitment to democracy, freedom, justice, peace, equal rights and freedom of religion which is concomitant with the foundations of the Baha'i faith. He ended by stating that in April, Jews celebrate Passover, the festival of Freedom. In conjunction with the spirit of Nowruz, the release of Israel's 134 hostages will soon be realized.

Baha'i practitioners are protagonists in the contributions towards the well being and preservation of the societies in which they live and function. In Israel, space has been created for interfaith meetings being conducive for silence, meditation, worship and understanding.

Three children ascended to the stage and recited a short prayer in their retrospective languages of English, Arabic and Hebrew. A brief movie produced by the Baha'i World News Service was then shown in which "Hope and Fellowship" was fostered where people met and gathered for prayer readings in the hope of unity, love, brotherhood and togetherness.




The official ceremony ended by the singing of a mantra written by the Baha'u'llah, the founder of Bahaism and performed by an acapella group including members of diverse backgrounds from as far as South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, Germany, India, Colombia and Honduras.   

As usual, the gracious hospitality included a sumptuous buffet including a large array of deserts and freshly sliced fruit as well as non alcoholic cocktails as alcohol is prohibited in the Baha'i  faith. Upon leaving the reception all guests were given an envelope which contained a card in English, Hindi, Hebrew and Arabic with a passage written by the Baha'u'llah.

Throughout the evening, the inclusive and multicultural Baha'i concept of unity was felt palpably by everyone present and a deep impression remained.

Nawruz Mubarak!


Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Bahaim on this wonderful celebration, and wishes a happy Now-Ruz to all the Community

Photos credit Silvia G. Golan 

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An evening of unforgettable impressions in a cozy company of closest friends as we celebrated Freedom – the 3️⃣4️⃣th anniversary of the Restoration of Lithuanian Independence
🇱🇹 The Ambassador Audrius Brūzga rightly mentioned in his address: several Lithuanian national days in the calendar is a reminder of a long history of struggle for freedom, self-determination and independence. Expressing a hope, that there will never be a need to have yet another one, the ambassador also noted that nothing is guaranteed in this day and age – peace and freedom is not a given. The examples of Ukraine🇺🇦and Israel🇮🇱, with whom Lithuania stands in unwavering solidarity, yet again show us in what volatile world we live in.
As part of the celebration guests were also invited to a screening of a movie “Rowing the Atlantic”, the inspiring story about a strong-willed Lithuanian, who undertook to row across the Atlantic🌊solo. A story, which moves one to dream big and try hard, while also proving that one does not need a war to become a hero✌️
Our biggest thanks🙏to a youth string quartet from the Kiryat Ono Conservatory, communities of local Lithuanians and Litvaks as well as to all friends of Lithuania, who joined us in this celebration!🎉
Nepamirštamų įspūdžių vakaras jaukioje artimiausių draugų kompanijoje švenčiant Laisvę – Lietuvos Nepriklausomybės atkūrimo 3️⃣4️⃣-ąsias metines🇱🇹Ambasadorius Audrius Brūzga tardamas sveikinimo žodį priminė, jog kalendoriuje esančios kelios Lietuvos nepriklausomybės ir valstybingumo dienos žymi ilgą kovų už laisvę ir tautos apsisprendimo istoriją. Reikšdamas viltį, kad dar vienos tokios dienos daugiau niekada neprireiktų, ambasadorius taip pat pažymėjo, kad šiais laikais tokių garantijų nėra – taika ir laisvė nėra duotybė. Ukrainos🇺🇦 ir Izraelio🇮🇱, kuriems Lietuva reiškia savo tvirtą paramą, pavyzdžiai tik dar kartą parodo, kokiame nestabiliame pasaulyje gyvename.
Šventės metu svečiai taip pat buvo pakviesti į filmo „Irklais per Atlantą“ peržiūrą, kuriame pasakojama apie stiprios valios lietuvį, kuris vienas valtimi ėmėsi perplaukti per Atlantą🌊 Tai istorija apie didelę svajonę ir sunkias pastangas, apie tai, jog nėra nieko neįmanomo, ir kad didvyriams atsirasti karas nebūtinas✌️
Dėkojame🙏jaunimo styginių kvartetui iš Kiryat Ono konservatorijos, vietos lietuvių ir litvakų bendruomenėms bei visiems Lietuvos draugams, kurie prisijungė prie mūsų šioje šventėje!🎉
Užsienio reikalų ministerija Globali Lietuva - Global Lithuania Lietuvių Bendruomenė Izraelio Valstybėje "Nerija" איגוד יוצאי ליטא בישראל Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel ארגון יוצאי וילנה Association of Jews from Vilna
Photo credit Nora Davidovich


 Photo: President Herzog with Ambassador of  of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Mr. Eustaquio Nseng Esono


New Ambassadors to Israel of Equatorial Guinea, Paraguay, Georgia, Burundi, and Eswatini submitted their letters of credence to the President in Jerusalem this morning.

 President Isaac Herzog this morning, Wednesday, received the diplomatic credentials of new ambassadors to Israel from Equatorial Guinea, Paraguay, Georgia, Burundi, and Eswatini.


Welcoming Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Mr. Eustaquio Nseng Esono, President Hezog said, “I had a good conversation with your president, and I want to thank him and the government for supporting us at the African Union Summit. It was extremely important to Israel, extremely. We want to enhance the friendship between our countries. We can enhance dramatically the commerce, the business, the trade.”

 Ambassador Esono thanked the President and said, “My President opposed radically the position to condemn Israel at the African Union, and proposed to create a commission to see for themselves instead of taking others’ opinions. This proposal was not adopted but there were others who joined us in opposing condemnation of Israel.”



Photo: President Herzog with Ambassador of Paraguay, H.E. Mr. Alejandro Rubin Cymerman


Next, the Ambassador of Paraguay, H.E. Mr. Alejandro Rubin Cymerman, presented his diplomatic credentials. The President welcomed him and said, “We appreciate and respect Paraguay for its friendship and for its achievements. You're also a brother of ours, representing the Jewish community of Paraguay, and I am honoured to have you here.”

 Ambassador Cymerman thanked the President, and said, “For many years I was honorary consul of Israel, and now it is a great honor to represent my country here.”


 Photo: President Herzog with Ambassador of Georgie, H.E. Mr. Zaza Kandelaki


Welcoming Ambassador of Georgie, H.E. Mr. Zaza Kandelaki, President Herzog said, “We have good relations between our countries, in trade, industry, and tourism. I believe there is a golden opportunity to double and triple the commerce between our nations.”

 Ambassador Kandelaki said, “I want to express our unconditional support for Israel. This is the opinion of my government and of the Georgian people. We have a unique relationship which goes back centuries and it is a unique example for the whole world.”


Photo: President Herzog with Ambassador of Burundi, H.E. Mr. Willy Nyamitwe


Newly appointed Ambassador of Burundi, H.E. Mr. Willy Nyamitwe told the President, “I was very excited to come present my credentials and particularly to visit again in the holy city.”

 The President spoke of the importance of Israel’s relations with nations across Africa, and told him, “We are very happy that we have such good relations with Burundi.”


Photo: President Herzog with Ambassador of Eswatini, H.E. Mr. Mahlaba Almon Mamba


Welcoming the new Ambassador of Eswatini, H.E. Mr. Mahlaba Almon Mamba, President Herzog reiterated, “We are very honoured to have this wonderful relationship. Eswatini is a great friend of Israel. Thank you for being with us in these most difficult times when we fight terror, and as we try to sustain our longstanding friendship with Africa. We believe in Africa. We love Africa. And we see it as a continent that is very close to our hearts.”

 Ambassador Mamba said, “Our friendship goes back many years. We have very similar common interests in seeking global peace and working for dialogue.”


Attached photo credits: Maayan Toaff (GPO)






President Javier Milei's First Visit to Yad Vashem 

On the first full day of his first trip to Israel, President of Argentina H.E. Dr. Javier Milei visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, located in Jerusalem. President Milei, accompanied by native Argentinian Chairman of Yad Vashem, Dani Dayan, toured the Holocaust History Museum and the Hall of Names. Following the guided tour, the President participated in a solemn memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance and signed the Yad Vashem guestbook outside the Hall of Remembrance. 

In President Milei's entry in the Yad Vashem guest book he wrote: 

"In this symbolic and transcendent place, where darkness reaches unimaginable extremes of cruelty, it is precisely here that we can see the greatness of a people.  The greatness of going through the pain and rising up again even stronger than before. We all bear the duty not to remain silent. Never again is now."


In part of his strong and emotional speech the President expressed: "As I see the grim images of the Holocaust, I wonder where the free world was then and today. I ask myself the same question again. Where is the voice of the world? freedom that demands the release of more than 100 people kidnapped for more than 100 days? Choosing life is demanding the release of those kidnapped! We must not remain silent in the face of the monstrosity of Nazism. In the same way, today we should not remain silent silence in the face of modern Nazism, disguised as the terrorist group Hamas... "that inside Yad Vashem saw destruction and death, but outside in the country it sees prosperity and freedom. He gave several examples from history, where after tragedies there was reconstruction.



At the conclusion of the visit Yad Vashem Chairman Dayan stated: 

"This visit was especially pertinent given the fact that there have been Latin-American leaders who have used in the last months rhetoric with clear antisemitic tones, including Holocaust trivialization. For the President of Argentina to visit Israel and Yad Vashem and commit so clearly to uphold the values and lessons of the Holocaust, is extremely important. Yad Vashem continues to work closely with the educational authorities in the Argentine Republic in order to increase Holocaust awareness and education for the Argentine people and the Spanish-speaking world."





Photos Silvia G Golan

More Pics at Facebook Diplomacy Israel and Israel Diplo  /  Silvia G Golan