President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday , at a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, received the diplomatic credentials of the new Ambassadors to Israel from Thailand and Spain. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the visiting country, and - after the presentation of the credentials - the signing of the guest book, before the playing of Israel's national anthem 'Hatikva'.
First to present her credentials was the new Ambassador of Thailand, Ms. Penprapa Vongkovit. The President congratulated her on her appointment and spoke of the warm relations between the countries, and noted that more than 150,000 Israel tourists visit Thailand annually. “The whole world can learn from you about how to welcome tourism, and develop that industry,” said the President. He added that Israel had a large community of Thai people who were working in Israel, and said, “We appreciate all they do for our economy and for our agriculture. I hope they feel very much at home in Israel.” The President concluded by expressing his hope that the relations between the two countries would continue to grow.
Ambassador Vongkovit thanked the President for his welcome, and for his condolences over the passing of the county’s late King. She added that she brought with the warm wishes of the new King Vajiralongkorn.
The Ambassador told the President, “I want to thank the Israeli Government for welcoming the Thai workers, so they can come here and enjoy the excellent labor practices in Israel and also learn best practices for their benefit when they return to their own communities.” She stressed that Thailand was keen to expand the cooperation with Israel, especially, “as the crossroads between China and India”.
Next, President Rivlin received the credentials of Ambassador of Spain, H.E. Mr. Manuel Gomez-Acebo. President Rivlin told him “Our history goes back hundreds of years,” and added, “We appreciate the law you passed in 2015. It is not a matter of citizenship but it shows the appreciation and the connection between the two people.”
The President praised the strong cooperation between the two countries and said, “We appreciate what you are doing and what the King has done against BDS. We know as friends we can disagree sometimes but BDS goes against the idea of relationships between people.” The President added that Israel was working to the best of its ability to build confidence with the Palestinians, despite the many challenges. He said, “Many Palestinians are not ready to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state or as a state at all. We have to try to explain to everyone that we must learn to live together. Spain can be a great help in building the necessary confidence measures between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Ambassador Gomez-Acebo thanked the President and stated that he was looking forward to seeing the President visit Spain during the course of the year, and added, “the historic links between us are indeed strong as you described”. He spoke of the wide-ranging links between the countries in the fields of trade, commerce, and more, and said, “Israel is a valuable partner.” He told the President that, “The way you are committed to dialogue between communities is something which is admired.” He concluded, “I will work with all my heart and effort to further the relations between our two peoples.”
Photos Mark Neyman / GPO