- Written by Diplomacy
Many diplomats and friends attended the celebration of the Swedish national day in the Ambassador's residence. H.E. Ambassador Elinor Hammarskjold was thrilled to host the guests and welcome them personally.
After greeting all the arrivals, Ambassador Hammarskjold was introduced and came up to the stage to say some words. Ambassador Hammarskjold welcomed the crowd and minister Shalom Simchon, representative of the government in the event.
Ambassador Hammarskjold started by saying that Sweden and Israel have a long history of relations between themselves. She wanted to share with the audience some of her experiences since she arrived to Israel last year. Ambassador Hammarskjold shared stories about people who told her that they sought refuge in Sweden during and after the Holocaust, in this matter she also mentioned the vast cooperation between Israel and Sweden regarding Holocaust education.
Ambassador Hammarskjold spoke of the other fields of cooperation in which both states share, Fields such as technology, environment, art, human rights and others. She mentioned that some of those fields both countries cooperate with the Palestinians as well.
Ambassador Hammarskjold went on and spoke about the importance of pursuing peace. She said that Sweden plays an important role in bringing both sides closer, hopefully to an agreement in the future. The ambassador mentioned Swedish foreign minister Bildt's visit to Israel in the past year and the importance of it in the matters of foreign and security policies.
Ambassador Hammarskjold's next topic was the trade between Israel and Sweden. She mentioned proudly the increase of 20% in trade during last year and said that both countries enjoy a high investment rate which makes them leaders in the statistics.
The Ambassador thanked the sponsors of the event and also acknowledged the presence of the Honorary consuls of Sweden in Haifa and Eilat, Mr. David Castel and Mr. Uri Pri-Gal.
Ambassador Hammarskjold pointed out the last ambassador of Sweden made his speech from the roof, She said that she is happy that this is not possible anymore due to the solar panels that covers it and highlight the commitment of Sweden to environmental issues.
Ambassador Hammarskjold finally thanked the guests for coming and wished them to enjoy the evening.
After the ambassador's speech minister Shalom Simchon took the stage. Minister Simchon said that he is happy to be representing the government of Israel in this event and he would like to wish Sweden all the best.
As minister of Industry, trade and labor, Mr. Simchon elaborated of the many fields of the cooperation between both of the countries. He said that there is much more room to expand this cooperation and he is looking forward of meeting the minister of industry, trade and labor of Sweden.
Minister Simchon spoke of the special relationship of Israel and Sweden and its history.
Finally, Minister Simchon wished a happy national day to the guests and the speeches were closed with the national anthems.
After the speeches the crowd was free to mingle and get to know each other and enjoy the fine food.
Photo Eva Taylor
- Written by Diplomacy
Members of the Italian community in Israel, businessmen, members of the Israeli government and friends gathered in the Italian ambassador's residence in Ramat-Gan to celebrate the national day of Italy.
The ambassador of Italy to Israel, H.E. Luigi Mattiolo and his wife welcomed the guests to their beautiful home and wished them happy Italian national day.
The ambassador spoke about the great relations between Israel and Italy and mentioned the recent economic agreement that will allows the two states to increase their trade between themselves.
Among the guests were Chairman of the Israeli parliament, Rubi Rivlin, minister of education Gideon Sa'ar, MK Silvan Shalom, MK Gideon Ezra, minister of agriculture, Orit Noked and many more. President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu sent their greetings as well.
The guest enjoyed a variety of top quality Italian cheese, wine and drinks imported specially for the event.
Photos by Diplomacy
- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
By Jonathan Danilowitz
On the 9th March, His Excellency Mr. Yuri Sterk, the Bulgarian Ambassador to Israel, opened an exhibition at Tel Aviv's Enav Cultural Center. Amongst those at the event were key Ministry of Foreign Affairs persons, members of the diplomatic and consular corps and of course, many present and former Bulgarian citizens.
The exhibition – “The Power of Civil Society during the Holocaust: the Bulgarian Story, 1940 – 1944” – reflects some of the historic parallels between Bulgaria’s and Israel’s struggles for independence, and some of the similarities between the two countries, explaining the close ties that exist between them at all levels, to this day. (The exhibition is open to the public until 19th March.)
Although many individual Jews and several Jewish communities in Europe were saved from the Nazi death machine in WWII in various countries, Bulgaria was perhaps unique in that, thanks to the united civilian efforts (led by the Bulgarian Royal Family and other intellectual, spiritual and political leaders), almost the entire Jewish community there was saved. Neighbors would not stand by and allow the Jews to be deported to death camps.
In his address to the assembled guests, Ambassador Yuri Sterk spoke of the coincidence that the 9th March, the 133rd anniversary of Bulgaria’s liberation, was also the date of the start of the civil actions protesting against and resisting the “final solution” of the Third Reich, thus saving Bulgaria’s Jewish community.
Analyzing whether there is a link (separated in time by almost 65 years) between the two events, and the source of the close ties, the Ambassador continued: “I believe both represent crucial junctures in the development of the Bulgarian nation; both attest significantly to important features of Bulgarian national spirit and character which substantiated the historically critical choices Bulgarians had to make on those two occasions: once in the 1870s in favor of their freedom, to exercise their right to an independent national being. And a second time – in the dark years of WWII – in favor of human dignity, in support of universal human virtues and values as opposed to the probably easier way to dishonor and complicity in the most abominable crime against humanity in the history of Mankind.
“These are actually also the choices made, and the values and principles shared, by the people of Israel. These are the values and principles that are shared by both our peoples and which are the foundation of our peoples’ affinity for each other, of the friendship between our two nations”.
Ambassador Mr. Sterk concluded by graciously acknowledging the assistance of those who had helped make the exhibition possible, including Tel Aviv Municipality and the Bulgarian Institute of Culture. This is the very first time this exhibition has been shown in Israel.
- Written by Diplomacy
Many Diplomats, Israeli officials, businessmen and friends gathered in the beautiful “Metsudat David” hotel in Jerusalem in honor of the Bahai New Year- the Nahruz.
The hall that the event took place in was decorated with flowers, trees and more that gave the scenery a nature like atmosphere.
The representative of the Israeli government was minister of tourism, Mr. Stas misezhnikov, who greeted the guests and thanked the Bhai community for contributing to the unique nature of Israel and attracting so many visitors to see their holy temples in Haifa and Akko.
The Bahai’s were wearing their traditional festive clothing, which was colorful and lovely. The members of the Bhai community made sure they will introduce themselves to each and every guest. The crowd enjoyed as well the delicious traditional Bhai cuisine, many of them, for the first time.
The head of the Bahai community, Secretary General, Mr. Albert Licoln, blessed the crowd and thanked them for their participation in the New Year’s celebration.
Mr. Lincoln spoke about the achievements of last year and shared the plans for the following year to come.
- Written by Deputy Foreign Minister's Bureau
All those who value life and peace must join forces to prevent arms smuggling, so that Israel can continue to ease restrictions on the Palestinians.
Today (March 10) a briefing for foreign ambassadors in Israel was conducted by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Maj.Gen. Eytan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
The subject of the briefing was the implementation of the civilian policy in Judea and Samaria and towards the Gaza Strip in light of the dramatic changes in the region.
After reviewing the government's policy of easing restrictions in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, which has brought about significant economic growth in both areas (9% in Judea and Samaria, and 16% in the Gaza Strip), DFM Ayalon concluded, "Israel aspires to continue the easing measures. At the same time, the complexities of this region and the recent dramatic changes have intensified the threat of arms smuggling that endangers Israeli citizens in the southern and central parts of the country.
"Unfortunately, you and your families living in the center of the country also understand the this is a very real threat; the range of the rockets reaches all of us and already today thousands of rockets are stored in the Gaza Strip that threaten the population in Israel.
"We call on the international community and all in the region who treasure life to join forces to prevent the arms smuggling. The rockets threaten not only Israeli citizens, but also the citizens of the Gaza Strip who also long for a normal life. The continuation of the smuggling will interfere with Israel's ability to ease restrictions for Gaza residents. All those who value life, whether they are Egyptian, Tunisian, Jordanian, Israeli or Palestinian, together with the international community, must stop the Iranian infiltration.
"From here I call on the international community to put pressure on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who does not receive even the most basic human rights."
In response to journalists' questions regarding Denmark's upgrading of the status of the Palestinian delegation, DFM Ayalon called it "a virtual upgrade that won’t change the reality on the ground. Whoever deludes the Palestinians into thinking that they can establish a state unilaterally, without negotiations, is diminishing the chances for peace and for a Palestinian state."
DFM Ayalon added, "Palestinian obstinacy will not prevent Israel from making diplomatic progress and cooperating with the international community."