- Written by President’s Spokesperson’s Office
President Rivlin to the British Ambassador:
"Let me assure you - there will be no Isra-exit from our bilateral relations.
Holocaust and anti-Semitism education are not only important for the Jewish community in Britain, but for everyone and all communities, and appreciate the work your government is doing in this field."
President Rivlin to the Irish Ambassador:
"Israel and Ireland are both strong democracies, but even when we disagree, as we sometimes do, we cannot accept boycotts as a valid response."
Ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Equatorial Guinea and Bulgaria presented their credentials today, Wednesday 7 August / 6 Av, to President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin at an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi as they take up their posts in Israel. As each ambassador arrived, their national anthem was played by the IDF Band, their national flag was raised and they reviewed an honor guard of IDF soldiers. After presenting their letters of credence to the president and an audience with him, they signed the visitors’ book and Hatikva was played.
The first to present their credentials to the president was Ambassador Dusko Kovacevic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who did so in Hebrew. He then shook hands with the president and asked if he had pronounced everything correctly. The president replied with a smile, “you said it perfectly, and within a week, you’ll speak the language fluently.” The president welcomed the ambassador to Israel and said, “your country is an example that it is possible to bridge conflicts and to seek peace. I believe that we can deepen the relations in a range of fields and hope that with you here as ambassador, we will do so.”
The ambassador expressed his condolences to the president on the death of Nechama ז"ל and said he was proud to serve his country in Israel. He added that the cooperation between the two countries in the fields of security and economy were very important and expressed his hope that the relations would extend to additional fields. “Let me express my sincere gratitude for the assistance that Israel immediately sent in 2014 when we experienced massive floods. You were among the first countries to send assistance and we will never forget it,” said the ambassador, who ended his remarks by saying in Hebrew, “toda raba - thank you very much - Mr. President.”
The president requested the ambassador’s help in returning the Sarajevo Haggada to Israel. The Haggada, the story of the Exodus from Egypt read on the Pesach festival, was apparently written and illustrated in Spain in the 14th Century, and over the years found its way to the Sarajevo Museum. During the Holocaust and the civil war that followed it, the book was hidden by the museum’s librarians in a mosque and other places. “The Haggada is dear to our hearts and we would deeply appreciate it if we could return it to the Jewish people.”
Next the ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, Luciano Ncogo Ndong Ayecaba, presented his credentials to the president. He will be his country’s first resident ambassador in Israel, and the president said, “I have no doubt that this will help strengthen the relations between our countries. It is an exceptional opportunity and I hope that you and your family will feel at home here.” The president also mentioned that he hoped Israel would resume its observer status at the African Union. The ambassador thanked the president for his warm reception on behalf of himself and his family. “As a Catholic, I am deeply moved to be here. We are two small countries and we have much in common. I am sure that we will be able to do a great deal together,” he said.
The next to present his credentials was Ambassador Neil Wigan of the United Kingdom, accompanied by his wife Yael and two children. Ambassador Wigan presented his credentials in fluent Hebrew, saying “It is a great honor and a deep personal pleasure to be here again, Mr. President, and to present you with my letters of credence as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Israel.” The president, with a smile on his face, said that he was sure that his wife and children would feel at home, shook hands with the children warmly and said that he was delighted they had come back.
The president welcomed the ambassador and quoted the famous Liverpool FC song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. “Our relations are strong and strategic, including in the field of counter-terrorism, and that is how they will remain, said the president. “We see you as very good friends and let me assure you there will be no Isra-exit from our bilateral relations. Please send my warmest congratulations to Prime Minister Johnson, my dear friend, and of course to Her Majesty the Queen.” The president stressed the importance of fighting anti-Semitism together, saying “we see Holocaust and anti-Semitism education not only as important for the Jewish community in Britain, but for everyone and all communities, and appreciate the work your government is doing in this field.”
The president recalled the visit of Prince William to Israel warmly as someone who does much to bring people around the world together and spoke about the Land of the Monasteries project that Israel is leading in the Jordan valley. “This area is so important to Christians and is significant to the whole region as a place where working together could bring millions of pilgrims and create prosperity and economic growth. I invite you, together with representatives of the Royal Family and the Pope, to come to the opening of the project when the restoration work is completed.”
The British Ambassador told the president how excited he was to return to Israel, where he met his wife Yael on his first posting here in 2002. “It is a great honor and a huge personal pleasure to come back here as ambassador. The Royal Family feels a strong connection to Israel, particularly Prince Philip. The relations between our two countries are close, the prime minister volunteered on a kibbutz, and there is no doubt that this says something about the quality of our relations. After Brexit, we very much want to deepen and extend the relations even further. Israel has a great deal to offer those who visit, and as a historian, the Land of the Monasteries project interests me very much. On the question of anti-Semitism, our government is committed to working with the Jewish community to ensure that they are able to live their lives safely. We see Israel as a friend and even when there are disagreements, that friendship is very important to us.”
The president extended an invitation to a British representative to participate in the ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau that will take place at Yad Vashem in January 2020. “Britain played a crucial role in the Second World War,” said the president and the ambassador replied, “my grandfather was the commander of the forces that liberated Bergen-Belsen and the issue is important to me personally.” At the end of his remarks, the president said, “I wish you all success and I am sure you will feel at home here.”
Ambassador Rumiana Bachvarova of Bulgaria was the next to present her credentials to the president, who said, “I remember my visit to Bulgaria in 2016 very well, during which we unveiled the memorial to the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews. The links between the Bulgarian people and Israel are good and warm and I am sure that through government-to-government relations we will be able to strengthen the links in a range of areas.”
The ambassador thanked the president for his remarks and noted the importance her government attaches to the relations between the peoples, the governments and the business sectors. “It would be a great honor for me in my new position to realize the great potential of our relations,” she said.
The final ambassador to present his credentials was Ambassador Kyle O’Sullivan of Ireland. The president welcomed the new ambassador and said, “Israel and Ireland are both strong democracies, but even when we disagree, as we sometimes do, we cannot accept boycotts as a valid response. Our bilateral relations are important and we have a wide range of links, not only at the governmental level but also between the peoples. The fifth president of Israel, Chaim Herzog, was born in Ireland and his son is now the Chair of the Jewish Agency.” The president added, “we are making efforts to rebuild confidence between Israel and the Palestinians but we are only one side of the equation. The Palestinians must also understand that they need to make an effort. It would be helpful if you tell them that they must also be part of such efforts. Thank you for the Irish contribution to UNIFIL who play an important role in keeping the peace on our northern border. With a smile at the end of his remarks, the president said “We are known more for our wine than our beer, and I hope you will enjoy our Israeli wine. Welcome to Israel, and I hope you feel at home.” The president spoke to the ambassador’s wife and said, “we may be a little loud, but I hear that Irish people also know how to make a noise when necessary.” Laughing, the ambassador’s wife said, “I have three sons…”
The Irish ambassador thanked the president for his remarks, saying “I listened very carefully to what you said and I agree on many issues. We appreciate the importance you attach to defending democracy and its values, and Israel’s democracy is indeed famous – vibrant and lively. This is something we share. You face many challenges, and we are aware of that. I am glad to see that we can listen to each other and discuss matters, even if we do not always agree. Of course, on the question of the quality of Irish beer, we are in absolute agreement,” he said with a smile, thanking the president for his warm reception.
Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)
- Written by Steven Aiello
The Embassy of Peru in Israel celebrated 198 years of independence with its annual celebration at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv, with Peruvian cuisine, music, and a traditional dance performance.
After hearing the national anthems, H.E. Ambassador Carlos Daniel Chávez-Taffur Schmidt began his opening remarks. The ambassador pointed out the common values and industrious nature shared by Israelis and Peruvians. The Ambassador noted 20 years of continuous economic growth at an average of 4 percent of GDP as the results of that industriousness and macroeconomic planning in Peru. He thanked the government of Israel for the four thousand scholars from Peru who have participated in various Mashav training programs, further strengthening the economic capacity of Peru.
Looking forward, the ambassador expressed confidence that the bilateral cooperation between the countries could be further increased, in sectors as wide-ranging as health, education, security, and of course finance. The ambassador highlighted that the Peruvian Embassy has promoted the signing of a “Memorandum of Understanding between the Lima Chamber of Commerce and the Israel Latin American Chamber of Commerce” to boost trade relations, and hoped to sign it soon. He also thanked Israel for supporting Peru’s application to join the OECD.
Noting the proximity of the Eighteen Pan American Games and the Sixth Para Panamerican Games, set to be held in Lima, the ambassador explained that this is the most important sporting event in America, with the participation of 7 thousand athletes. He suggested a Panamerican Maccabi Games in the near future. In concluding his remarks, the ambassador welcomed a very unique group of guests: Peruvian students in different Israeli academic institutions, as well as Israeli students who participated in a special one year course about Peru which exposed Israeli students to different fields of Peruvian reality and its challenges. These students will then conduct research projects proposing possible solutions to improve the quality of life of Peruvians in deprived and rural areas.
Foreign Minister of Israel Mr. Yisrael Katz spoke next. The minister noted the long history between the countries, with Peru supporting the creation of Israel over 70 years ago as part of UNSCOP. The Minister also noted the success for the Mashav Program, as well as a seminar that Israel conducted on the subject of innovation for the countries of the Pacific Alliance, and in particular Peru. The minister stressed the shared the values of the two countries and the appeal that Peru’s rich and unique culture offers to Israeli tourists, with tens of thousands of tourists annually.
Minister Katz congratulated Peru for hosting the recent Summit for Pacific Alliance countries and expressed interest in upgrading Israel’s status at this international forum. He also offered congratulations on Peru’s impressive performance of Peru in America’s Cup finals. In closing his remarks, the minister offered a toast to the best wishes and continued success of the people and nation of Peru.
Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed Peruvian delicacies. The Consul, Victor Alejandro Reinosor, wore traditional clothing and performed a traditional dance with Mrs Leisly Reyes Escalante. A cake ornately decorated in the colors of the Peruvian flag further added to the festive atmosphere.
Among the many distinguished guests in attendance were Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz; Ambassador Meron Reuben, Chief of State Protocol in the Israeli Foreign Ministry; Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, president of the Ambassador’s Club; Tzachi Braverman the secretary of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister; Ambassador Modi Eprahim, Deputy Director-General for Latin America and the Caribbean MFA; Roberto Spindel the President of the Israel Latin American Chamber of Commerce; Gabriel Hayon- President of The Diplomatic Institute, Superintendent Moti Meiry as representative of the Israeli Police; Vered Swid, former Director of the Authority for Advancing Women’s Rights; Roy Roznek, member of the international committee of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce; Drs. Ronit and Shmulik Lewinger, and many additional diplomats, business leaders, and members of the Peruvian community residing in Israel
Diplomacy.co.il extends best wishes to the Embassy of Peru on the occasion of its national day
- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
His Excellency, Ambassador Gianluigi Benedetti, and his gracious wife Mrs. Sabina D'Antonio Benedetti hosted a sparkling dinner at the official residence in Ramat Gan last week, a special event to honor the Accademia Italiana Della Cucina – the Italian culinary association. Members of the Accademia gather from time to time, most often in authentic Italian restaurants, to celebrate Italian cuisine. The Academy was established in Milan in 1953 and is now a world-wide institution (with a Tel Aviv chapter as well). The association aims to preserve Italian gastronomic tradition and to promote and improve it in Italy and abroad, through various initiatives, reports, and information. It includes a study center, publishing activities, tastings, and more.
First, a word about the official Italian residence. There are few homes like this one in Israel. Classic, but modern. Large, but graceful. Luxurious, but classy. A house at peace with itself in its beautiful park-like garden, crystal swimming pool, mature trees, green lawns. We dined on the elegant balcony overlooking that serenity. In that setting, simple sandwiches would have sufficed to please us.
But the meal was anything but simple. A traditional four-course Italian dinner (served by white-coated waitstaff): antipasti, primo, secondo, dolce. Accompanied of course by appropriate Italian vini. Each course actually in two sections, with an elaborate menu (in Italian of course) describing it all, especially since the event was to honor several Italian specialists in the art of good food. Chef Michele Bozzetto outdid himself, demonstrating that his award "Massimo Alberini 2019" was appropriate and in place. Also honored with the " Giovanni Nuvoletti" award to Gelateria Arte partner-owners, Marco Camorali, and Sissi Pagani, for their unique and very special artisanal ice cream (served as part of the dessert course as well).
Stimulating conversation at the intimate tables added to the evening’s pleasure. Stimulating and interesting, far from boring. Even the mundane had its moment, like when the discussion “raged” about whether the pasta was truly al dente as it should be. Some thought it had been cooked for 30 seconds too long, while others opined that it needed another minute in the pot. Ah – the finesse of real Italian cuisine.
Guests were largely from the Israeli-Italian ex-pat community and included (in no particular order of importance)
ICE (Istituto per il Commercio con l'Estero - Italian Trade Commission) Manager Massimiliano Guido
Architect-artist Maurizio Minerva
World WIZO President Mrs. Esther Mor and Mr. Emanuel Mor
Chief of Italian Foreign Ministry Food Development Office, H.E. Ambassador Raffaele de Luzio
Italian military attaché Colonel Guido Cirioli
Italian Air Force Colonel Vincenzo Sicuso
Vice President, Italy-Israel Chamber of Commerce Roberto Della Rocca
Academic-Plastic Surgeon Dr. Dov Klein
Italian Consul Niccolo' Maniello with his wife Elmina Vincenti
Eitan Esrachi with his wife Ruti
Academic and ANSA journalist Massimo Lomonaco, journalist Fabiana Magrì, journalist-anthropologist Fiammetta Martegani, academic writer and anthropologist Nessia Laniado. And many more.
The entire event was ably orchestrated by Academy Honorary Mrs. Sabina D'Antonio Benedetti in collaboration with Academy Delegate Dr. Cinzia Klein and Vice Delegate Sabrina Fadlun.
Fino Alla prossima volta.
Photo by Silvia G. Golan
More pics at Facebook Israel Diplo https://www.facebook.com/diplomacy.israel
- Written by Steven Aiello
Embassy of Colombia Celebrates 209 Years of Independence with Colombian Performers in Kfar Shmaryahu
The embassy of Colombia celebrated 209 years of independence on Wednesday evening July 17 with a reception and ceremony. H.E. Ambassador Carlos Morales and Mrs. Betty Morales hosted the celebration at the ambassador’s residence in Kfar Shmaryahu.
The residence was elegantly decorated with the Colombian flag, and even the Tel Aviv municipality building in Tel Aviv was lit in yellow, blue and red. Guests enjoyed authentic, freshly brewed Colombian coffee, as well as a live musical performance from Alvaro Meza and Omar Lopez, who came especially from Colombia to perform at the celebration.
Following the national anthems of both countries, Ambassador Morales welcomed the guests. The ambassador emphasized Colombia’s vibrant democracy, multicultural society, and a strong economy, as part of the Colombia-Israel relationship.
The ambassador noted the coming Mechanism of Political Consultations, and the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2013 as evidence of the close connection between the countries, and opportunities for increased cooperation going forward. Another example is a joint program promoting innovative technologies in the field of Smart Cities. The ambassador also thanked the Mashav agency and director Ambassador Gil Haskel for the cooperation in promoting development.
Ambassador Morales mentioned the well-received efforts to promote Colombian culture through music, dance, and food, as well as Spanish language education together with bodies like the Cervantes Institute. In closing, he announced that he and his family would be leaving Israel in a few months, and thanked his embassy staff for their hard work and assistance.
Israeli Minister of Communications Mr. David Amsalem spoke on behalf of the government and people of Israel. Minister Amsalem noted the shared values and challenges between the two countries and the vibrant cooperation. He mentioned that a visit by the President of Colombia, Mr. Ivan Duque is expected in the near future.
Minister Amsalem thanked Colombia for providing forces in the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai as part of the Israeli-Egyptian peace accords and wished Colombia success in implementing its own peace agreement with the FARC, and entering the “post-conflict” period.
In closing, the minister congratulated Colombia on a strong performance in America’s Cup and called for a toast to the warm relations between the countries and blessings and prosperity for Colombia.
The evening was delighted with a performance that represents the cultural diversity of Colombia.
Álvaro Meza, who performs some pieces of his repertoire of Vallenato music, traditional rhythm from the Caribbean region in Colombia.
Vallenato music has its origins in the farmers who used to travel with their musical instruments to entertain themselves on their journeys. Since then Vallenato became a symbol of Colombian diversity
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Ambassador Meron Reuben, Chief of State Protocol in the Israeli Foreign Ministry; Jaime Aron, Honorary Consul of Colombia; Mr. David de la Rosa, former ambassador of Colombia to Israel and Mrs. Grace de la Rosa, and Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Gilinski former ambassador of Colombia to Israel
Diplomacy.co.il extends best wishes to Colombia on the occasion of its national day
Photo Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Adam Kremer
On June 27th the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus to the State of Israel entertained a celebration event on the occasion of the Day of Independence of Belarus. The celebration was held in the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv-Yafo. The ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to the state of Israel, H. E. Vladimir Skvortsov, hosted Israeli officials, fellow ambassadors, visitors from Belarus and Israeli-Belarusian citizens.
Among the guests were:Chief of State Protocol in the Israeli Foreign Ministry Meron Reuben, former Defense and Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman,former Prime Minister and Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert, former Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, Members of the Knesset Yoel Razvozov and Evgeny Sova, Deputy Chairman of the Jewish National Fund and former Member of the Knesset Yigal Yasinov, former Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Republic of Belarus and former Member of the Knesset Yosef Shagal, former Member of the Knesset Leon Litinetsky, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the State of Israel Anatoly Viktorov, Ambassador of Ukraine to the State of Israel Hennadii Nadolenko, Director of Eurasia department in the Israeli Foreign Ministry Yacov Livne, Senior Advisor for Governmental and International Affairs of the Peres Center Nadav Tamir, and President of the Veteran’s Union of WW2 in Israel Avraham-Michael Greenzaid.
Ambassador Skvortsov welcomed and thanked all the guests on the occasion of the National Day of Belarus - marking the liberation of the capital Minsk from Nazi invaders 75 years ago. That symbolic date has been determined as the main holiday of the country - the Independence Day of Belarus. The Ambassador praised the relations between Belarus and Israel: “The history of relations between Belarusian and Jewish people goes back around six centuries. Close interlacing of human destinies and cultures in our past is today a solid foundation of friendly ties between the two countries.” Ambassador Skvortsov mentioned the many influential Israelis born in Belarus: Presidents Haim Weizmann, Zalman Shazar and Shimon Peres, Prime Ministers Menahem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, and a key figure in the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and thanked Ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Sofa Landver for their contribution to improving relations between the countries, culminating in visa-free travel between the two states.
In his closing remarks, the Ambassador congratulated Israel on achieving 8th place in the medal standings in the European Games hosted in Minsk. Ambassador Skvortsov will return to Belarus after 6 years in Israel, and he summed up his time in Israel: “After the summer vacations, I will complete my term here, and leave Israel where I have lived and worked for almost six impressive and eventful years. It was for me a great honor and pleasure to serve in Israel as Ambassador of my country. I tried to do my best to
strengthen the relationship between our two nations. I could always rely on the support of many Israeli friends of my country - politicians, businessmen, members of NGO’s and the Belarusian community, whose representatives are also among us tonight. We value what has been done in many practical areas of mutual Cooperation. I am sincerely grateful for the meetings and events held here with my colleagues from the Diplomatic Corps, as well as for the friendly relations with many people present, which I hope will continue. And last but not least - my thank is addressed to the staff of the embassy. Without your support and professionalism, dear friends, I could never have done what we have managed together during these intense years.”
Yacov Livne, Director of the Eurasia department at the Israeli Foreign Ministry thanked Ambassador Skvortsov for his great work in Israel: “Mr. Ambassador, your personality is the best combination of a professional diplomat, a remarkable colleague and a true friend of Israel. We wish your family a lot of happiness and the best of luck in your future endeavors.”
Also at the event, the embassy of Belarus and the Peres Center for Peace showed a photo exhibition dedicated to Belarus - “The land under white wings” which presented the history and contemporary Belarus in photos. Traditional Belorussian food was offered to the guests, including local alcohol and ice cream. Classical music was played by the “Kamerans” and “Oriental orchestra” lead by the conductor and violinist Mikhael Zakharin.
Diplomacy.co.il thanks Ambassador Skvortsov for his dedication to strengthening bilateral ties between Belarus and Israel, and wishes his much health, happiness, and success!
Photos Silvia Golan
Adam Kremer is a member of