Friday was a beautiful late spring day; the gardens were lovely, the weather was fine; the guests were elegantly attired; the refreshments were generous and delicious; all the makings of a happy celebration marking the National Day of Sweden. H.E. Carl Magnus Nesser, ambassador of Sweden to the State of Israel, hosted the event at the ambassadorial residence in Herzlia Pituach.
The event was attended by many Swedish nationals living in Israel; Swedish music, Swedish food, Swedish sponsors and a generous open bar – all the makings of a happy event.
The sad part was the Ambassador’s reminder to the assembled guests that in a few short weeks he will be returning to Sweden. In his charming and humor-filled address to the gathering, he gave a brief list (“this is the short version- I don’t want to bore you”) of Sweden’s success in world affairs; its economy, society and culture; and of his five successful years in Israel. He also noted that Israel is one of Sweden’s priority markets for trade promotion. Ambassador Nesser made careful mention of the support and help he had received from the embassy staff (including the reception that day); of the generous sponsorship by Swedish companies, including Volvo, Swedish Orient Line, Ericsson, Saab, SSAB, H&M, Ikea, SKF and others. He diplomatically referred to the delicate issue of Sweden’s efforts to bring the hostile Arab and Israeli political parties to a closer understanding, and of his country’s efforts, not only in Israel, to improve minorities and civil rights organizations everywhere. The guests were pleasantly surprised to hear Ambassador Nesser add a brief word of thanks – in Hebrew – to the government of Israel. He also noted proudly that his own parents were among the guests, on their fourth visit to Israel.
Among the many VIP guests were the ambassadors to Israel of several countries, including Sri Lanka, Britain, Zambia, South Africa and more; the upcoming Israeli ambassador to Sweden, H.E. Ilan Ben-Dov; Major Matthew Kartt, Deputy Chief Liaison Office United Nations Truce Supervision Organization to Amman & Tel Aviv; Viviane Epstein and Daniel Rainer of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation; David Castel, Sweden’s Honorary Consul in Haifa; Moshe Krispin, the Honorary Consul in Eilat; Denis Geron, Deputy Canadian Defense Attaché from the Canadian Embassy in Israel; the cream of Israeli society; leading financial and industrial entrepreneurs; many members of the diplomatic corps; personal friends of the ambassador; and representatives of Israeli and Swedish media.
Responding on behalf of the State of Israel, Rodica Radian-Gordon thanked the ambassador and his colleagues for the beautiful reception. She was generous in her praise for the ambassador’s five years in Israel, even though there had been times of diplomatic strain between the two friendly countries. Her complimentary words reflected the general feeling of those present – that Ambassador Nesser would be sorely missed. She added the congratulations of the government and people of the State of Israel to the Swedish nation and people, with special mention of greetings to His Majesty, King Carl Gustaf, at the royal palace in Stockholm.
The formal part of the ceremony ended with the singing of the national anthems of Sweden and Israel. Guests mingled on the lawns of the residence, enjoying the opportunity to renew old friendships and make new ones, while partaking of the delightful buffet luncheon.
DIPLOMACY.co.il adds its warm good wishes to the departing ambassador.
Photos Silvia G Golan