- Written by Steven Aiello
On Monday evening, Ambassador of Ireland H.E. Alison Kelly hosted a farewell dinner reception at the ambassador’s residence in Herzliya. Diplomats and other distinguished guests were on hand to thank the ambassador for her service, and wish her well, as she returns to Ireland.
Ambassador Kelly addressed her guests and thanked them for attending, and for their friendship and support. She said that her four years of service in Israel had been “among the most fascinating” of her career. Noting the importance of personal contact in the world of diplomacy, the ambassador emphasized how she had enjoyed working with her colleagues in Israel. She also thanked her embassy staff for their commitment, support, and friendship.
The ambassador noted the commonalities between Irish and Israeli cultures, like informality and a similar sense of humor. She noted that there is still a need for direct Ireland-Israel flights, and expressed hope that the next ambassador could achieve that step in bilateral connections.
Ambassador Kelly commended the Irish peacekeepers serving in UN missions on Israel’s borders. The ambassador stressed the deep commitment of the government of Ireland towards strong bilateral relations with Israel while supporting a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Closing her remarks, the ambassador surprised many guests by telling them that she would be retiring. She emphasized that Israel would always be special for her, and welcomed friends to visit her in Dublin as well.
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were numerous members of the diplomatic corps; Ambassador Meron Reuben, chief of state protocol in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Major General Kristin Lund, Head of Mission and Chief of Staff for UNTSO; David Freeman, Jerusalem Representative of the Baha’i international community; Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weisz, Member of the Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel; Hillel Schenker, Co-Editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal, and Dina Ben Yakir (Women Wage Peace).
Diplomacy.co.il thanks Ambassador Kelly for her dedication to strengthening bilateral ties between Ireland and Israel, and wishes her much health, happiness, and success!
- Written by Steven Aiello
Innovation and cooperation were the main themes as the Embassy of Slovenia in Israel celebrated Slovenia’s national day with a reception at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa. Ambassador of Slovenia H.E. Barbara Sušnik hosted the celebration, which coincided with a business delegation visiting from Slovenia, led by the deputy foreign minister, Mr. Dobran Božič.
The weather and view overlooking the sea in Jaffa set a perfect backdrop, while floral arrangements in the Slovenian colors and live music performed by Israeli and Slovenian musicians added to the ambiance. Deputy Foreign Minister Dobran Božič headed a Slovenian business delegation, who met earlier in the day with Israeli entrepreneurial peers for presentations and networking.
Ambassador Sušnik expressed her pleasure at seeing so many friends from the two countries, and in particular at the presence of the delegation for the first Israel-Slovenia business forum. The ambassador noted also the visit by the president of the Slovenian Parliament two years ago, as further evidence of the growing ties between the two countries.
The ambassador noted that although Slovenia is a young country, it is already playing a leading role in protecting human rights; promoting gender equality, as well as being a hub for innovation, like Israel. She emphasized that Slovenia remains committed to fighting anti-Semitism along with all forms of extremism, racism, and intolerance.
The ambassador closed her remarks by speaking in Hebrew, telling the guests that she was not concluding her term as ambassador to Israel, and would soon be leaving. She thanked her colleagues and the embassy staff, and everyone who helped to forge stronger ties between Israel and Slovenia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Dobran Božič spoke next, expressing his happiness to be in Israel, and to be representing Slovenia. The deputy minister noted Slovenia’s success in the last three decades and the opportunities for further cooperation with Israel. He said that he had heard from Israelis that innovation requires courage and intellectual capacity, and he added market need as an additional key factor. Noting that both countries have each of these factors, he reiterated the hope for continued economic cooperation and wished all the guests well.
Minister of Justice Mr. Amir Ohana spoke on behalf of the Israeli government. The minister noted the many similarities between the two countries, from geographical size, or shared values of freedom, democracy, and the respect for law, order and human rights. He noted, in particular, the Israeli trade entering Europe through Slovenia’s Port of Koper, as well as growing Israeli tourism to Slovenia.
Minister Ohana noted that all of the bilateral cooperation comes despite Israel not yet have an embassy in Slovenia due to budgetary limitations, and expressed his hope that the situation would be rectified soon. He concluded his remarks by thanking Ambassador Sušnik for promoting and deepening the friendship between Israel and Slovenia and offering best wishes to the government and people of Slovenia on their national day.
After hearing the national anthems of both countries, a toast was held to continued success and cooperation. Jewish Slovenian actor and singer Polona Vetrih di Stefani then took the stage and sang English and Slovenian renditions of the national anthems for Slovenia and Israel.
Steven Aiello, founder of the Debate for Peace MUN program (debateforpeace.wordpress.com)
Photos by Silvia G Golan
- Written by Steven Aiello
On Tuesday, June 11, the Embassy of the Philippines in Israel celebrated its Independence Day. Dignitaries, community members and those with ties to the Philippines joined the celebration held at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv, overlooking the sea.
H.E. Ambassador Neal Imperial opened his remarks by expressing condolences upon the passing of Nehama Rivlin, the wife of the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin. The ambassador said “Nakikiramay po kami”, explaining that the phrase meant “we grieve with you and we will keep her in our prayers.”
The ambassador mentioned that in his fifth year as ambassador, he was able to appreciate some of the long-term projects and initiatives were undertaken between the two nations, as well as benefit from more meaningful relationships with Israeli peers.
Ambassador Imperial cited the historic visit by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last year, the first by a sitting president of the Philippines, as a sign of the unprecedented ties between the two countries. He added that the visit bore fruit with the signing of 21 private sector agreements and three bilateral agreements. In particular, the ambassador mentioned the bilateral labor agreement for caretakers, which took almost a decade to negotiate but is expected to save tens of millions of dollars annually for caretakers and provide protection from unscrupulous recruitment agencies.
Ambassador Imperial continued by noting the security cooperation, Mashav’s Agrostudies program which trains hundreds of students from the Philippines annually in advanced agricultural techniques, and the bustling tourism, including a 33% increase in visits from the Philippines to Israel.
The ambassador concluded his remarks with a toast to the good health and success of the President and Prime Minister of Israel, and to growing ties between Israel and the Philippines.
Religious Affairs Minister Yitzchak Vaknin spoke on behalf of the government of Israel. The minister began by noting the efforts of the President of the Philippines in 1947, Manuel L. Quezon, to save Jews from the Holocaust by providing refuge in the Philippines, as well as the fact that the Philippines was the first country in Asia to support UN Resolution 181 leading to the creation of Israel.
The minister also mentioned President Duterte’s visit to Israel, and the increased bilateral cooperation that it stimulated, including in agricultural training, energy, and economic development. Closer to home, the minister referenced the tens of thousands of Filipino workers caring for Israelis, including many Holocaust survivors, with compassion and dignity.
The minister concluded by reiterating congratulations on behalf of the people and government of Israel for the Independence day of the Philippines and offered blessings for peace, stability, growing prosperity and success, and flourishing friendship between the two countries.
The guests enjoyed a lavish dinner prepared by the Sheraton chefs, including special dishes from the Philippines, like chicken Adobo and Turon (fried banana roll). Photos and videos taken by Israeli photographers showcased the spectacular and diverse sights of the Philippines, and floral arrangements added to the celebratory theme. On their way out each guest received a gift bag of items from the Philippines.
Among the many distinguished guests of the evening were Minister Yitzchak Vaknin; Knesset member Osnat Mark; Meron Reuben, chief of state protocol in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Menashe Bar-On, former Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines; Honorary Consuls Shimon Weinbaum and Carmel Hacohen; the president of the Ambassador’s Club, Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan; Moran Mano Executive Manager & Moshe Dubi Ganor Senior Superintendent of Mano Maritime LTD; Sheraton general manager Franco Vella; Boaz Waksman, chairman of Ophir Tours Ltd; Ariela Schmida-Doron from the Jerusalem Gold hotel, and artist Sari Arieli;
The staff of http://www.diplomacy.co.il/ congratulates the government, people, and embassy of the Philippines on the occasion of the 121st anniversary of its independence.
Photos Silvia G. Golan ( more pics at https://www.facebook.com/diplomacy.israel
- Written by Silvia G Golan
Tens of thousands of tourists from all over Europe, including hundreds and even thousands of Israelis, are expected to arrive in Belarus this week to take part in the biggest sporting event of the year in Europe.
In light of these forecasts, local authorities are preparing electric buses to transport guests from place to place quickly and in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition, the authorities in Minsk have allocated about 2,000 hotel rooms and hostels for tourists and fans who will come to watch the games. In addition, the Ministry of Sports and Tourism announced a special policy aimed at facilitating the entry of tourists into the country. During the European Games, tourists who have a ticket to the Games will be able to enter the country without a visa.
Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus in Israel, H.E. Vladimir Skvortsov: "We expect that hundreds and even thousands of Israelis will visit Minsk as tourists and spectators of the Games." The Belarusian capital, which celebrated its 950th birthday in 2017, is today a modern city that is growing rapidly.
The 2nd edition of the European Games 2019 will take place in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, beginning this coming Friday from 21 to 30 June. This year’s biggest pan-European sports forum will see more than 4,000 athletes from 50 countries competing for 200 sets of medals in 15 sports (23 disciplines) and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth.
"We welcome the active participation in the European Games of the Israeli delegation, with whom we have deep historical ties," said Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus in Israel, H.E. Vladimir Skvortsov at a press conference in Tel Aviv last night (Sunday, 16 June 2019) co-hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Israel and the Olympic Committee of Israel. He offered an interesting angle between the two countries: "Many in Israel know that a number of prominent figures in Israel were born in Belarus, including politicians, scientists, artists, and Nobel laureates. Suffice to say that Belarus "gave" Israel three presidents and three prime ministers. It is important to remember that in the history of our country there was a time when Yiddish was one of the official languages in the country, and, before World War II, Jewish people made up more than half of the population in several cities in the country."
Ambassador Skvortsov addressed the fact that Belarus is also preparing for Israeli tourists during the European Games: "Belarus, located in the center of Europe, is a land of thousands of lakes and rivers, historic forests, ancient castles, and palaces, waiting for tourists from all over Europe, and of course from Israel as well. We anticipate hundreds and even thousands of Israelis to visit Minsk as tourists and spectators of the Games. The capital of Belarus, which marked its 950th anniversary in 2017 is today a modern city that is growing rapidly."
The Ambassador added: "Despite the principle that participation in the Games is what is most important, I wish the delegation to Minsk, first and foremost, to win, to reach new achievements in sports and to achieve new personal records. I hope they meet their hosts, the Belarusian athletes, on the podium, most likely in the sports where the two countries are traditionally strong, as happened last time in the first European Games which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, four years ago."
Igal Carmi, President of the Olympic Committee of Israel: "I am certain that the games will be a success for Belarus and for us. Europe is very important to us, not just for the Olympic Games. This mission is important to us a year before the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. Athletes will see how everything is organized. We expect 3-4 medals and are very excited."
The 2nd European Games
The idea behind the European Games is to keep Europe in the heart of sports. Belarus will welcome athletes, sports enthusiasts and visitors from around Europe with open arms to experience the best of Belarusian sportsmanship, culture, and hospitality. This year, eight of the 23 disciplines will provide athletes with a chance to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games and pave the way to Tokyo, Japan.
Belarus welcomes guests from all over Europe
The Ministry of Sports and Tourism expects 30,000 visitors to attend the Games. With this in mind, the local authorities are deploying their electro buses for the upcoming Games to transport guests in an eco-friendly and fast manner. In addition, the Minsk authorities have allocated approximately 2,000 hotel and hostel rooms for tourists and fans during the Games. The Minister of Sports and Tourism stated: “From 10 June to 10 July 2019, tourists carrying a valid ticket to the Games can enter Belarus without a visa.” This way the procedure of visiting Belarus during the Games will be easier. A total of 74 countries can enter the country visa-free during the European Games.
Belarus is the homeland of three Israeli Presidents: Chaim Weizmann, Zalman Shazar and Shimon Peres, and of two Prime Ministers, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. Belarus is also home to important intellectuals and leaders, including Berl Katznelson, Yosef Haim Brenner, Menachem Ussishkin, Abba Ahimeir, Yitzhak Tabenkin, Hanna Rovina, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the founder of Tel Aviv, Akiva Aryeh Weiss, and many others who have a central place in the canon of contemporary Israeli-Jewish history.
For more information on the Games, visit: https://minsk2019.by/en
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Silvia G Golan & Mihal Mizrahi
On 28th May, the Embassy of Argentina in Israel commemorated its National Day with a warm and exciting reception.
The ambassador of Argentina, H.E. Mariano A. Caucino and his wife Barbara held a reception at the ambassador’s residence in Herzliya Pituach commemorating the Day of the Revolution of May 1810 and its 70° anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel.
When arriving at the residency, the staff gave to every guest a cloth pin with the traditional light blue and white colors of the Argentinean flag.
The ambassador and his wife, together with the military attaches, received the guests warmly. Traditional Argentine dance music (Milonga) played in the background. The festive environment was completed with a big flag made by lights showing the colors of Argentina, and with flower vases with the colors of the flag that gave a special frame to the festive day.
Israeli Minister of Social Equality Mrs. Gila Gamliel, the secretary of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Tzachi Braverman and Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg attended as honored guests.
The formal part of the event started with the anthems of Argentina and Israel. The ambassador mentioned that Argentina was celebrating 70 years of diplomatic relations with Israel. He congratulated the Argentinean Jewish community in Israel and said that he since arriving in Israel he has gotten to know many of them and to witness their achievements in many areas.
The ambassador recalled that Argentina was not exempt from acts of extremism, mentioning the attacks on the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the AMIA building in 1994 that was blown up by terrorists, killing more than 100 people and leaving hundreds of wounded. He expressed that he advocates for the fight against terror, highlighting the international effort to strengthen the security of “our peoples. "
In a warm ceremony, the ambassador gave Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, a former ex-member of the Knesset and distinguished Israeli economist born in Argentina, a diploma in which he was recognized that night with the award given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina as one of the “Most Influential Argentinians in the World 2019."
A recording of the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, was played next, congratulating Argentineans on the occasion of the Day of Revolution of May
Then the ambassador handed the microphone to Minister Gamliel who said: "It is an honor and a pleasure for me to represent the Government and the people of Israel in the celebration of the 209th Independence Day of Argentina, and 70 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries”. “After the visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu in September 2017, the relationship between our two countries has received new energy and vigor. Since then, we have increased cooperation in many areas, including agriculture, innovation, and cultural relations, to mention just a few.
And while we talk about cooperation, we must mention the participation of Israel this year in the BAPA 40 Conference that took place in Argentina with the purpose of strengthening cooperation in the area of development among the countries of the South”.
She also mentioned that several Argentine mayors and governors visited Israel this year.
and that "The close relationship between our two countries is also due to the great and vibrant Jewish community in Argentina, as well as to the large community of Argentines who live here in Israel".
She also expressed: "It would be negligent not to mention the terrorist attacks against the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the Jewish Community Center in 1994, which claimed the lives of many and caused many more injuries.
Our expectation is that, after many years have elapsed, the investigation of the attacks will finally be completed and those responsible for its planning and execution will be brought to justice for their horrible acts.
To our dismay, Iran, the country unambiguously responsible for the attacks in Argentina in the 1990s continues, to this day, presenting a real and present threat to world peace through its support for terrorist activities throughout the world. To this end, we urge the Argentine government to include Hizbollah, Iran's representative, on the list of international terrorist organizations”.
The Minister congratulated the cooperation that began this year between the two countries on the issue of financing of terrorism.
She added: "We are also witnessing the worldwide rise of anti-Semitism and attacks on Jews throughout the world, and yes, unfortunately in Argentina as well”.
"We hope that all governments take a firm stand and will use an iron fist to combat this unpleasant phenomenon”
In conclusion, she expressed her gratitude to Ambassador Caucino and to all the staff of the Argentine Embassy in Israel for everything they’ve done, and she said she is sure that they will continue to make, a very important contribution to the deepening and expansion of relations between both countries.
Finally, she requested the Ambassador to convey the best wishes of the government and the people of Israel to the government and the people of Argentina on this, their Independence Day and she made a toast, “I raise my glass to wish Argentina a future of peace, stability, security, and prosperity.
The distinguished guests at the event included Amit Titelman President of the Chamber of Commerce Israel AMLAT, the producers Yair Dori and Freddy Zyskrot, a delegation from the CREA Group of entrepreneurs of the agricultural sector who are visiting in Israel, a delegation of officers and non-commissioned officers who attend training courses in Israel, Representatives of the MADA Latino Maguen David Adom, who will soon travel to Latin America, clerics of Argentine origin, representatives of the KKL, ambassadors, businessmen, and other representatives of the Argentine and South American Community.
Throughout the night guests enjoyed the background music of the main Argentine artists while savoring delicious empanadas, Argentinian wines and of course exquisite alfajores of homemade cornstarch for dessert.
On behalf of the Diplomatic Portal in Israel, www.diplomacy.co.il, of Israelenlinea.com, of my team and of all Argentines living in Israel, we congratulate Ambassador Caucino for the excellent work he has done, we feel proud to be able to count on him, with his wife Barbara and of the excellent team from the embassy. For many years more... Cheers!