- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
A triple anniversary – and a wonderful celebration: Firstly – Romania’s national day Secondly – 100 years of the reunification of Romania And finally – 70 years of full diplomatic relations between Romania and Israel. Yes, Romania was one of the first countries of the world to recognize the re-establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.
It was a gala event, including a concert in the Recanati Hall at Tel Aviv’s Museum of Art, and a lavish cocktail reception after the concert in Museum’s Riklis Foyer. Guests gathered in the auditorium and included Diana Toma, General Manager for Tarom in Israel; Ambassador Dr. Rodika Radian-Gordon; Superintendent Moti Meiry of the Israel Police; Yoni Zilberman, former representative of the Israel Police; Shasha Grimberg; Natan Rotenberg, Director International Relations Public Security M.O.P.S.; a large representation of diplomats serving in Israel; and many VIPs and members of Israel’s Romanian Community. The evening opened with renditions of the Romanian national anthem and then the anthem of Israel, both performed by the Jerusalem Academy of Music graduate, Monica Schwartz.
The opening address by Mircea Chitic, Charge d’affaires, speaking in place of Mr. Ovidiu Ierulescu who was unable to attend, stressed the fine diplomatic relations between the two states. Mr. Chitic noted that the link “ … between Romania and the State of Israel is based on common values and shared goals, … a bond that is continuously extending and developing to the benefit of our countries and peoples”. He spoke of the multiple official contacts at all levels, the special ties and the bilateral economic cooperation before mentioning “Romania's Presidency to the EU Council will be an occasion to highlight our country's attachment to European projects, especially among younger generations, by taking on the role of an honest broker in advancing the negotiations within the EU processes.” He was particularly proud of the sound contribution of the community of Israelis originating from Romania in bringing the two countries together. “They continue to be attached to the Romanian cultural values and serve as a human bridge between our countries to get young Israeli generations closer to the Romanian heritage of traditions. Their contribution to the strengthening of the State of Israel is a reason of pride for Romania. One might just remember the citizens of Moineşti – Bacău who founded the first settlements in Zichron Yaakov and Rosh Pina.”
Mr. Chitic did not fail to mention that: “Romania’s Chairmanship to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance reflected our strong commitment to the commemoration of the Holocaust victims and the fight against anti-Semitism and xenophobia. At a national level, the political commitment in the fight against anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination is supported by the legal framework. Our genuine efforts for raising awareness about these aspects are completed by Romania’s strong interest in deepening the cooperation in the field of education, including the history of the Holocaust. Our Government took the initiative to open a National Museum of Jewish History and the Holocaust in Romania, for which the Bucharest City Hall has allocated a beautiful historic building in the downtown area, in the most touristic part of the city. We will continue to rely on the support of the State of Israel and the Yad Vashem Institute in completing this objective.”
He ended by thanking the guests and by extending his good wishes for a joyful Hanukkah celebration.
M.K. Gilad Erdan responded on behalf of the State of Israel. His opening remarks included Israel’s appreciation of: “When the Iron Curtain and Arab oil cut off Israel from the Eastern Bloc, Romania bravely stood up to the pressure and maintained an open channel with Israel.” He told of his own family’s Romanian roots and that Jews of Romanian descent have played key roles in every aspect of Israeli life, from culture to business to diplomacy to the military. The economic, security and hi-tech links are as important as Israel’s agriculture and water technologies.
Mr. Erdan mentioned tourism too: “Tourism between Romania and Israel continues to grow at an unprecedented rate – 300,000 Israeli tourists travel to Romania each year, and a new record of 80,000 Romanian tourists came here. The 60 direct flights per week are a testimony of the close relations between our peoples.” He also spoke warmly of Romanian Holocaust activities: “We recognize the important steps that Romania is taking to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and the mass murder of Romanian Jews, including my grandfather's first wife and seven children. It's crucial that this process continues and that Romanians learn about the Holocaust. Only by studying the horrors of the past
can we work to ensure that they never repeat themselves in the future.”
“Today we count Romania as one of our closest friends in the European Union. We look forward to the upcoming Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. No Doubt that these are challenging times for the EU, but I'm confident that Romania will help steer the EU to a period of greater stability and growth. We count on Romania in helping to ensure that Israel is treated fairly by the EU and that all attempts to single out Israel for discrimination are countered.”
Minister Erdan praised Romania’s steps toward moving its Embassy to Jerusalem. “I've no doubt that if Romania was to take the brave and moral stance of moving its embassy to Jerusalem, numerous other countries would follow Romania's lead.”
He ended by extending best wishes to the people of Romania on the occasion of the country’s National Day.
The concert, under the auspices of the Romanian Cultural Institute, featured masters of Romanian music: pianist Ilinca Dumitrescu and bassoonist Vasile Macovei.
After a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony by Rabbi Elhanan Guttmann, guests were invited to enjoy the buffet reception in the museum foyer. Israeli and Romanian delicacies, accompanied by beverages that included wines and liqueurs from the host country, were a fitting end to a wonderful evening.
The directors and staff of www.diplomacy.co.il join in congratulating the people of Romania on these auspicious anniversaries.
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
- Written by President’s Spokesperson’s Office
Photo: President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr. Ghassan Majali Ambassador of Jordan to Israel
President Rivlin Today Accepts Diplomatic Credentials from New Ambassadors of Croatia, Jordan, the Czech Republic, Egypt, and Mongolia
President Rivlin to the incoming Jordanian Ambassador:
“Next year we will mark the 25th anniversary of our peace treaty. We are determined to live in peace with our neighbors and we are hopeful and optimistic that others will do as you have done.”
Photo: President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr.Khaled Azmi Ambassador of Egypt to Israel
President Rivlin to the incoming Egyptian Ambassador:
“We face similar challenges and our military and intelligence cooperation is of strategic importance. Together, we can face the challenges of terrorism and ISIS in Sinai and Gaza better. Under the leadership of your president, Egypt plays a key role in the Arab world as a voice of reason and moderation. We appreciate your efforts towards stability in the region, and particularly with the Palestinians in Gaza.”
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin this morning, 8 November / 30 Cheshvan, received diplomatic credentials from the new Ambassadors of Croatia, Jordan, the Czech Republic, Egypt and Mongolia to the State of Israel at a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. As each ambassador arrived, their country’s flag was raised and the Israel Police Band played their national anthem. The ambassadors inspected a IDF guard of honor and presented their credentials to the president. After an audience with the president, the new ambassadors signed the guest book and Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, was played at the end of the ceremony.
Photo: President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mrs.Vesela Mrđen Korać, Ambassador of to Israel
The first to present her credentials was the new ambassador of Croatia, Vesela Mrđen Korać. The president welcomed her and said, “I visited Croatia this year and was received warmly. Please send my warm regards to the president and prime minister of your country.” He also said, “as a member of the European Union, Croatia plays a key role in blocking Iranian influence. We must ensure that Iran does not continue to destabilize our region.”
The Croatian ambassador thanked the president for his warm and kind welcome and said, “I had the pleasure of meeting you on your visit to Croatia in July, and we are looking forward to our president’s reciprocal state visit to Israel next year. Our countries have close and strong relations, and we are interested in deepening them even further into a regular dialog. Croatia is a strong friend and ally of Israel at the UN, in NATO and in the European Union.”
The next to present his credentials was the incoming ambassador of Jordan, Ghassan Majali. President Rivlin welcomed him and noted that next year we will mark the 25th anniversary of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty. “We are determined to live in peace with our neighbors, and we are hopeful and optimistic that others will do as you have done. The good relations between our two countries are a legacy of the leadership of the late King Hussein. Please send my warmest wishes to His Majesty King Abdullah II.”
The president continued: “We appreciate the key role that Jordan plays as an island of stability in our region. But we can still do more to broaden cooperation in areas that impact on both our peoples. We breath the same air and live on the same piece of land. When you lack water, we lack water. We must do more to find ways of confronting these challenges together. Another important project is the ‘Jordan Gateway’ that could link the port of Haifa to Irbid, Amman and Aqaba, and from there to the Arab world, creating thousands of jobs.”
The Jordanian ambassador presented his credentials and he, too, noted the important anniversary of the peace treaty that will be celebrated next year: “We remember the huge efforts made by great leaders, the late King Hussein and the late Yizhak Rabin, who stood firm in the face of all odds,” he added. “King Abdullah believes that the peace treaty is a cornerstone for peace in the region and in the world and that a breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a top priority for the Hashemite Kingdom. Thank you for your warm welcome, Mr. President.”
The president added, “We do not only live in the same neighborhood, we are really neighbors. We drink the same water and we breathe the same air. It is time that our two peoples get to know each other better.”
Photo: President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr. Martin Stropnick, Ambassador of Czech to Israel
Following this, the president received the credentials of Martin Stropnick, the new Czech ambassador. “I am so happy you are here. You left a very important position in government to be your country’s ambassador to Israel. That says something about the good relations between our two countries,” he continued and emphasized the excellent bilateral relations between Israel and the Czech Republic and that Israel would be delighted to continue to develop and deepen areas of cooperation. President Rivlin thanked the Czech people for its assistance to the young State of Israel in the war of independence and recalled that the first rifle he handled as a recruit to the IDF was Czech-manufactured. At the end of their conversation, the president stressed the importance of the Czech Republic’s position on Iran. “Israel is a true friend of Israel, supporting us on every issue and in every forum.” The president sent his warmest wishes to President Zeman, who will be visiting Israel soon, to the Czech government and the Czech people.
The Czech ambassador thanked the president and said, “our two peoples have so many areas of cooperation, but I’d like to mention our work together on cyber, on water management and innovation. Lots of Czech tourists already come to Israel, but since my appointment as ambassador to Israel was announced I have found I have lots of new friends, and so I can assure you that the ambassador’s residence will be full, adding even more visitors to Israel,” said the ambassador, smiling.
The next to present his credentials to the president was the incoming Egyptian ambassador, Khaled Azmi. The president began by noting that in a few months time we will mark the 40th anniversary of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. He said he hoped that a way could be found to celebrate the event and to pass on the values of peace and partnership to the next generations. “Since the peace treaty was signed nearly 40 years ago, we have welcomed six Egyptian ambassadors. Now you are the seventh. I wish you success during your time here.”
The president also said, “We face similar challenges and our military and intelligence cooperation is of strategic importance. Together, we can face the challenges of terrorism and ISIS in Sinai and Gaza better. Under the leadership of your president, Egypt plays a key role in the Arab world as a voice of reason and moderation. We appreciate your efforts towards stability in the region, and particularly with the Palestinians in Gaza.”
The Egyptian ambassador thanked the president for his warm welcome and spoke about the anniversary of the peace treaty: “it was an important step and the vision of great statesmen, and it remains a pillar of stability and an example that should be followed around the region. Egypt remains committed to the peace treaty and to bringing peace to the whole region. We are proud of our history, which is a model of tolerance, co-existence, and acceptance.”
The president added: “The Egyptian people play an important role in our region. There are advantages to peace, and ‘no more war’ is not just a phrase. It is important that the two peoples get to know each other.”
Photo: President Rivlin welcoming H.E Mr. Bold Ravdan, Ambassador of Mongolia to Israel. Photo credit: Tomer Reichman (courtesy)
Finally, the president received the credentials of the Mongolian ambassador, Bold Ravdan. “I am pleased that such a distinguished and experienced diplomat is representing Mongolia in Israel,” said the president. “Our two countries cooperate on education and I’m pleased that we have recently extended the cooperation in the fields of culture, education, and science.”
“It’s a great honor to represent my government and my people as the Mongolian ambassador to Israel,” said the ambassador. “Israel is a proud and spirited country, and there is great potential for the expansion of our relations. We would be happy to do so,” he said.
Photo credit: Haim Zach, GPO
- Written by Silvia Golan & Steven Aiello
On Monday evening, the Austrian national day celebration was hosted at the Ambassador’s Residence in Herzliya. H.E. Ambassador Martin Weiss and his wife Susan greeted guests warmly as they entered. Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres along with live jazz played by students from the Ironi Alef school for arts before and after the formal ceremony marking the celebration.
As a prominent member of the European Union, Austria incorporated the EU into the celebration as well. Austria has been holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second half of 2018, and posters explained about Austria’s leadership in that role. The formal ceremony opened with the national anthems of Austria, Israel and the European Union (Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy), performed by the Brass Quintet of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music of Tel Aviv.
Ambassador Weiss welcomed the guests and thanked them for attending. He highlighted the long connection between Austria and Israel, which have maintained diplomatic relations for nearly 70 years, and expressed his hope that this friendship would continue.
Member of Knesset Dr. Michael Oren, Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy, spoke on behalf of Israel. Dr. Oren highlighted Austria’s efforts to combat anti-Semitism in Europe through its role as President of the European Union. He also mentioned the support of the government of Austria for its Jewish community, which has dwindled to only a few thousand members.
Looking to the future, the deputy minister listed areas for increased cooperation: trade, innovation, science, and culture. In particular, he stressed the advantages of bringing youth from Austria and Israel together to promote people to people diplomacy. In closing, Dr. Oren offered his a toast for success to Austria on behalf of the people and government of Israel.
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a gala dinner, with Austrian sausages and schnitzel, along with Stiegl beer in a variety of flavors as the choice beverage. For dessert, there was traditional strudel.
Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Ambassador Meron Reuven, Chief of Protocol of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi; Ambassador Yitzhak Eldan, head of the Israeli Center for Young Leaders and the Israel School for Young Ambassadors; Gad Proper, Chairman of the Israel-EU Chamber of Commerce; Dan Catarivas, Director General – Foreign Trade and International Relations at the Manufacturers’ Association of Israel and head of International Relations at the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations (FIEO); Superintendent Moti Meiry, representative of the Israel Police; Ze'ev Lavie, Director of the International Relations Division of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, along with numerous ambassadors and other diplomats and representatives of the Austrian community.
Diplomacy.co.il offers congratulations to the Austrian Embassy on its National Day, and best wishes for success and strong bilateral relations between the nations.
Photos by Silvia G. Golan
- Written by Jonathan Danilowitz
On a drizzly November evening, the Panamanian Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Adis Urieta Vega and the embassy personal brought warmth and cheer at a meeting of friends and colleagues at the embassy offices.
The occasion was just that – a welcome meeting of Panamanian expats, Central American diplomats, local friends and business people connected to Panama. The theme was a celebration of a month of Panamanian national holidays, plus tourism, culture, business – and friendship.
The atmosphere was relaxed and low key; guests could just have a good time with the pleasant background music and the delightful buffet meal. (Panamanian-Israeli chef Moises Ben Zadon prepared typical Panamanian dishes for the guests.)
The Ambassador addressed the gathering. She spoke briefly of the tiny country’s history, its struggle and eventual release from the colonial masters, the battles against poverty and illiteracy and its eventual successes.
She added that the economy keeps improving and beats the annual economic growth of all other Central American states. “Lonely Planet” (a tour guide) has indicated that Panama is one of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations.
Tiny Panama also has the world’s largest commercial shipping fleet – the Panamanian flag can be seen on ships worldwide. The 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties led to the transfer of the famous canal from the United States to Panama on December 31, 1999.
Her Excellency concluded by thanking all the guests for joining in at this informal Panamanian event and reminded them that she and staff are always open to ideas and projects that are of mutual benefit.
The director and staff at www.diplomacy.co.il extend their best wishes to the ambassador for many, many years of friendly Panama-Israel diplomacy.
Photo Silvia Golan
- Written by Silvia Golan & Steven Aiello
On Wednesday, October 24th, a unique art exhibition titled “Artist in Residence” was shown at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Ramat Gan. Mr. Aldo Henriquez, the communications consultant of the British Embassy and President of the Diplomatic Spouses Club in Israel, opened his artwork to a select audience in an intimate and engaging evening.
Mr. Henriquez explained that the exhibition was a visual representation of his experiences in Israel, from the Ambassador’s residence itself to places he often frequents. The paintings included portraits of people in his life, and places, including many pastoral nature scenes.
Mr. Henriquez was seemingly born for the diplomatic lifestyle. He was born in La Ceiba on the Caribbean Coast of Honduras and grew up in New Orleans. He moved from New York to London with his spouse, David Quarrey, and then they moved to Israel when Quarrey assumed the post of Ambassador to Israel.
It was in London that Henriquez began really devoting himself to his artistic side, training for two years at the London Fine Arts Studios on Lavender Hill, London. He noted that he began painting at the age of 40, the same as Winston Churchill. As a non-native Londoner, he believes that art and literature helped him connect with his new environment, and gave him a deeper understanding of British society. Upon arriving in Israel he continued with his passion, spending two years at the art studio of Yossi Mark at the Petach Tikva Museum of Art.
Henriquez told Diplomacy that:
“With "Artist in Residence" I wanted to share part of my experience in Israel including aspects of life at the British Ambassador's Residence, which is timeless, a home and a stage for public events; how I got to know about the country through some of the people I connected with, the colors of the land.
Having a solo art exhibition was a dream come true. As an artist, I always visualized having an art show but it was actually Dana Bernstein from the British Embassy who first suggested out loud that I should have an art show. It instantly made sense since people often ask what my experience in Israel is like. I decided to show through my art, part of my journey of exploring and making lasting connections.”
In addition to Henriquez’s own work, the exhibition included that of others, such as Mrs. Nora Mihaylova, the wife of the ambassador of Bulgaria to Israel. After this auspicious start, Henriquez is already planning another exhibition for January, which will showcase a different style.
Diplomacy congratulates Mr. Henriquez and all those who were involved in such a wonderful endeavor.
Photos by Silvia Golan