- Written by Joint communique
Greece and Israel, as modern democratic states, represent the proud independence of two ancient nations. Both contributed greatly to Western civilization and have fiercely maintained their unique identities throughout the millennia.
On 21 May, we mark the 25th anniversary of upgraded diplomatic relations between the Hellenic Republic and the State of Israel. Although bilateral relations have existed since 1952, full diplomatic ties were established in 1990. In recent years, common democratic values and interests have led Greece and Israel to forge an important strategic partnership in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Today, the relations are characterized by wide-ranging cooperation in politics, defense, energy, finance, tourism, culture and academia.
High-level political contacts have become commonplace. In October 2013, the first Greece-Israel High Level Government-to-Government Council (G2G) was held in Jerusalem, headed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries. Both States look forward to holding the second High Level Government-to-Government Council as soon as possible. The bilateral political dialogue has been accompanied by economic cooperation, important deliberations on energy issues, enhanced military and defense cooperation, flourishing cultural exchanges, interesting academic and scientific contacts, an inter-religious discourse, and large waves of tourism.
Greece and Israel, as modern democratic states, represent the proud independence of two ancient nations. Their long histories are intertwined and their common traits are numerous. Both are peoples of books and letters who contributed greatly to Western civilization and have lived together in this part of the world for generations. They are both nations of a homeland and a diaspora. And they have fiercely maintained their unique identities throughout the millennia.
The Greek Jewish community and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem are bridges of friendship between the two countries.
The bilateral cooperation promotes mutual interests, progress, and stability in the wider region. Both States aspire to further promote and enhance relations of peace and good neighborliness with the nations in the area.
Following a quarter century of upgraded diplomatic relations, the Governments of Greece and Israel express satisfaction with their close and friendly relationship. Both States look forward to further enhancing their bilateral cooperation in the next 25 years, especially regarding people-to-people contacts, as well as cooperation in the fields of high tech and entrepreneurship, for the benefit of both peoples. The two nations are joined together in friendship as they face common challenges and strive to build a better future.
- Written by MFA
For decades, Israeli innovators have developed technologies to directly harness the power of the sun, Israel's most abundant resource. It's on our shoulders to light a new path for people around the world toward a more sustainable future.
Ambassador Ron Prosor addressed the Second Annual United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum at the UN in New York.
First, allow me to congratulate you, the Secretary-General and the leadership of Sustainable Energy for All, for convening this forum.
The world faces serious energy challenges which demand immediate attention. The International Energy Agency estimates that one in five people do not have electricity. Another 2.6 billion use unsafe fuel to cook, inhaling toxic smoke. In order to realize our vision of a world in which everyone enjoys clean and safe energy, we must act now to spearhead this transformation.
With few natural resources and mostly arid land, Israel has always had to do more with less. For decades, Israeli innovators have developed technologies to directly harness the power of the sun, Israel's most abundant resource. Solar water heaters, developed in the 1950s, have been installed in 90% of Israeli homes, and are required by law.
Israel is committed to pursue renewable energy sources. And we have set a national goal to raise total renewable energy generation by 400% by the year 2020.
In the Negev desert, engineers at the Arava Power Company built the country's largest solar installation, covering an area equal to twenty football fields. The energy it generates will offset over one hundred thousand tons of carbon emissions - the equivalent of planting almost a quarter million trees.
The Knesset - Israel's Parliament - is a model of energy efficiency. This year, the roof of the Knesset building was covered with enough solar panels to lower energy consumption by one-third and save half a million dollars annually.
In addition to solar power, Israel's first hydro-electric plant will be completed by 2018 and will increase power generation capacity and energy security.
Israel is a hub for renewable energy research and development, and is committed to sharing innovation and expertise with developing countries abroad. In Ghana, for example, an Israeli company gives meaning to the phrase, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." It takes useless organic waste and turns it into useful energy. In rural Africa, another Israeli company keeps the lights on even after the sun goes down. Innovative tulip-shaped towers absorb solar energy by day and produce electricity by night.
In September, leaders from all over the world will gather in this very hall to adopt a transformative agenda that will guide the future of sustainable development. It is on our shoulders to light a new path for people around the world toward a more sustainable future.
As one of Israel's sustainable energy pioneers once said, and I quote, "To realize that the same sun shines equally on all of us, is owned by none of us, and can supply energy in abundance, inherently promotes peace. The sun doesn't recognize borders." May our desire to build a world where sustainable energy is available to all, be a reason for unity and solidarity.
Photo Ambassador Ron Prosor
Copyright: UN Webcast
- Written by MFA
The Anguish of Liberation and the Return to Life: Seventy Years Since the End of WWII
Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah in Hebrew) is a national day of commemoration in Israel, on which the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust are memorialized.
Yom Hashoah is a solemn day, beginning at sunset on the 26th of the month of Nisan (April 15, 2015) and ending the following evening, according to the traditional Jewish custom. Places of entertainment are closed and memorial ceremonies are held throughout the country.
The central ceremonies, in the evening and the following morning, are held at Yad Vashem and are broadcast on the television. Marking the start of the day - in the presence of the President of the State of Israel and the Prime Minister, dignitaries, survivors, children of survivors and their families, gather together with the general public to take part in the memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem in which six torches, representing the six million murdered Jews, are lit.
The following morning, the ceremony at Yad Vashem begins with the sounding of a siren for two minutes throughout the entire country. For the duration of the sounding, work is halted, people walking in the streets stop, cars pull off to the side of the road and everybody stands at silent attention in reverence to the victims of the Holocaust. Afterward, the focus of the ceremony at Yad Vashem is the laying of wreaths at the foot of the six torches, by dignitaries and the representatives of survivor groups and institutions. Other sites of remembrance in Israel, such as the Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz and Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, also host memorial ceremonies, as do schools, military bases, municipalities and places of work.
The central theme for Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2015 is The Anguish of Liberation and the Return to Life: Seventy Years Since the End of WWII:
On 9 May 1945, when the defeated Germans finally capitulated to the Allied Forces, great joy spread throughout the world. Yet one nation did not take part in the general euphoria - the Jews of Europe. For them, victory had come too late.
At the war's end, in the early spring of 1945, it became apparent that some six million Jews had been murdered - about one-third of world Jewry. Those who had survived were scattered throughout Europe: tens of thousands of survivors of the camps and death marches, liberated by the Allied armies on German soil and in other countries, were in a severely deteriorated physical condition and in a state of emotional shock. Others emerged for the first time from various places of hiding and shed the false identities they had assumed, or surfaced from partisan units with whom they had cast their lot and in whose ranks they had fought for the liberation of Europe. In the wake of international agreements signed at the end of the war, some 200,000 additional Jews began to make their way back West from the Soviet Union, where they had fled and managed to survive the war years.
With the advent of liberation, piercing questions arose in the minds of the survivors: How would they be able to go back to living a normal life, to build homes and families? And having survived, what obligation did they bear towards those who had not was it their duty to preserve and commemorate their legacy? Were the survivors to avenge them, as they demanded before their death? The overwhelming majority of survivors took no revenge on the Germans, but set out on a path of rehabilitation, rebuilding and creativity, while commemorating the world that was no more.
Prof. Dina Porat - Chief Historian of Yad Vashem
"Unto Every Person There is a Name"
Six million Jews, among them 1.5 million children, were murdered in the Shoah while the world remained silent. The worldwide Holocaust memorial project "Unto Every Person There is a Name" is a unique project designed to perpetuate their memory as individuals and restore their identity and dignity, through the public recitation of their names on Yom Hashoah - Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day. By personalizing the individual tragedies of the Jewish victims of Nazi Germany and its collaborators, this project counters persistent efforts by enemies of the State of Israel and the Jewish people to deny the reality of the Holocaust and cast it as history’s seminal hoax.
"Everyone has a name" - Poem by Zelda
[translated from Hebrew]
Everyone has a name
given to him by God
and given to him by his parents.
Everyone has a name
given to him by his stature
and the way he smiles.
and given to him by his clothing
Everyone has a name
given to him by the mountains
and given to him by the walls.
Everyone has a name
given to him by the stars
and given to him by his neighbors.
Everyone has a name
given to him by his sins and given to him by his longing.
Everyone has a name
given to him by his enemies
and given to him by his love.
Everyone has a name
given to him by his holidays
and given to him by his work.
Everyone has a name
given to him by the seasons
and given to him by his blindness.
Everyone has a name
given to him by the sea and
given to him
by his death.
"Unto Every Person There is a Name" is conducted around the world in hundreds of Jewish communities through the efforts of four major Jewish organizations: B'nai B'rith International, Nativ, the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization. The project is coordinated by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, in consultation with the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and enjoys the official auspices of the President of the State of Israel. In Israel, "Unto Every Person There is a Name" has become an integral part of the official Yom Hashoah commemoration ceremonies, with the central events held at the Knesset and at Yad Vashem with the participation of elected officials, as well as events throughout the country.
- Written by Mashav
The course took place in Israel (26 April-8 May) with the participation of 25 medical professionals from developing countries. Among them, were 3 Nepalese doctors who were in Israel at the time of the devastating earthquake which hit their country at the end of April.
Due to this unique situation, MASHAV requested the Rambam Teaching Center to provide the three doctors with any additional training which can be of use to deal with the severe situation prevailing in Nepal. Within this framework, the Nepalese doctors requested a workshop on Secondary Trauma – viewed as the stress which medical teams experience resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person.
It is expected that upon return to their country, the doctors will be able to apply the knowledge they acquired during the course in Israel for the benefit of the people of Nepal. In the next following weeks MASHAV is planning to send to Nepal a medical team comprised of professionals from the Rambam Hospital to conduct a specialized workshop on dealing with trauma situation
Photo :Director of MASHAV’s Training Division, Ambassador Mattanya Cohen (second from left) and Nepal’s Ambassador to Israel Prahlad Kumar Prasai, with the Nepalese doctors at the course’s closing ceremony
- Written by The Jewish Agency for Israel
Following the Summer's Hostilities: Jewish Agency Awards Scholarships to 1,300 Israeli Students from Communities Near Gaza
Scholarships made possible by special contributions totaling some NIS 8 million (~$2 million) from The Jewish Federations of North America and individual Jewish Federations
Deputy Chairman Trainin: "The scholarships will support young people who have chosen to live in communities near Gaza and will help strengthen academic institutions in Israel's South. Growing southern Israel's population is the most Zionist response to Hamas terror"
JERUSALEM – The Jewish Agency for Israel has awarded scholarships to some 1,300 Israeli students who live in Sderot and other communities near Gaza and study in academic institutions in southern Israel. The scholarships were made possible by special contributions totaling some NIS 8 million (~$2 million) from The Jewish Federations of North America and individual Jewish Federations, and each student will receive more than NIS 5,500 ($1,375).
The scholarships were presented in a special ceremony yesterday (Monday, March 2) in Sderot and was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency Rany Trainin, Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council Head Alon Schuster, S'dot Negev Regional Council Head Tamir Idan, Sapir College President Omri Yadlin, and Danny Labin, Associate Vice President for Global Programs at The Jewish Federations of North America.
In the aftermath of this summer's hostilities, The Jewish Agency has worked with its partners to collect funds from world Jewry in order to strengthen the residents of communities near Gaza and encourage young people to move to the area. The aid has helped support residents directly affected by rocket fire, enable the construction of additional bomb shelters, assist business owners whose income was affected, facilitate communal activities, and provide tens of thousands of local children with respite activities.
As part of these efforts, The Jewish Agency has collected some NIS 8 million (~$2 million) from Jewish communities in North America to provide students who reside in Sderot and other communities near Gaza with financial assistance. The scholarships were made possible by special contributions from The Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish United Fund / Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and the Jewish Federation of San Diego. Due to the high demand, the scholarship committee decided to award the first stage of the scholarships to some 1,300 students who both live near Gaza and attend academic institutions in Israel's South, thus supporting both the students themselves and the higher education community in southern Israel. Some 750 of the recipients reside in Sderot, 300 in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council, and the remainder in the S'dot Negev, Ashkelon Beach, and Eshkol regions.
Rany Trainin, Deputy Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency, noted: "The communities of southern Israel in general and those near Gaza in particular were on the frontlines during this summer's hostilities. These scholarships will support students who have chosen to live in communities near Gaza and will strengthen the academic institutions of Israel's South. This is a significant contribution to the strength of Israeli communities in southern Israel, the growth of which is the most Zionist response to Hamas terror."
PHOTOS: Students from southern Israel receive scholarships from The Jewish Agency for Israel, made possible by contributions from The Jewish Federations of North America and individual Jewish Federations, during a ceremony in Sderot, March 2, 2015.
Photo credit: David Shechter for The Jewish Agency for Israel.