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President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin today, (Monday), welcomed President of the United States Donald J. Trump, and First Lady Melania Trump on arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport, and then at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

On his arrival at the President’s Residence, President Trump signed the official guest book and wrote, “It is such a great honor to be in Israel and be with all of my great friends”.

 International graffiti artist and actor, Corin Nemec, (star of the series "Parker Lewis Can't Lose") came to support Israel and painted today (Sunday) a giant graffiti wall for peace, centered on a portrait of the late Ninth President of Israel, Shimon Peres, at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. Nemec came to Israel as part of a delegation through the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa Ron Huldai led a group of children – participants in Peres Center programs – in adding to the graffiti performance art, which will be displayed around the world at a time when international graffiti artists are using art to criticize Israel.

Together with the people of Germany, we will mark a long journey - a journey which has brought us from the unforgettable horrors of the past, to the shared values of the present, and with cooperation and friendship, will lead us to a promising future.

 

Israel and Germany mark 50 years of diplomatic relations


President of Israel Reuven Rivlin will on Sunday evening (10 May) depart for a state visit of Germany at the invitation of German President Joachim Gauck, to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany.

 

As preparations for the visit drew to a close, President Rivlin said, "My visit to Germany is for me both emotional and deeply significant. Together with the people of Germany, we will mark a long journey - a journey which has brought us from the unforgettable horrors of the past, to the shared values of the present, and with cooperation and friendship, will lead us to a promising future.

 

I have no doubt that my meetings with the German President, Chancellor, and senior government officials will help deepen the cooperation between our two peoples and governments. It is important to remember that our friendship is in no way compensation for the Holocaust. It is built on a basis of shared values, after Germany accepted upon itself responsibility for that dark period. Today, we are thriving, with the values of democracy and freedom of expression, having been able to learn the lessons of the past."

 

Relations between Israel and Germany were established gradually, and began with the signing of the Reparations Agreement in 1952. After the development of relations on an economic level, political relations were officially established between West Germany and Israel in 1965. Over the years there has been a significant strengthening of bilateral relations between the countries, and the forging of close cooperation in the political, security, economic, and cultural fields.

 

During the course of the visit, President Rivlin will deliver a special address marking the jubilee of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany; meet with President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merke, President (Speaker) of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert, and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier; and lay a wreath at the Platform 17 memorial to the Jews of Berlin murdered in the Holocaust. He will be the guest of honor at a celebratory concert of the Berlin Philharmonic, meet with young Israelis and Germans involved in partnership projects, and meet with German students at Kiel University. President Rivlin will also meet with participants of the German-Israeli Future Forum Foundation, and hear from them about different ways to conserve and strengthen bilateral relations, and examine the history of relations between the two countries.

 

 

 

The USA – Leading the Way to Gender Equality

 

In April this year the Dept. of State of the USA appointed its first ever “Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons”, Mr. Randy W. Berry. Last Friday morning the American Ambassador to Israel, his Excellency Dan Shapiro with his wife Ms. Julie Fisher hosted Mr. Berry at a unique gathering of the movers and shakers of the Israeli lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBTI) at the ambassadorial residence in Herzlia Pituach.

 

Attendees also included his Excellency Ambassador David Quarrey of the British Embassy (with his partner Mr. Aldo Henriquez), his Excellency Ambassador Werner Romero of the Embassy of El Salvador (with his partner Mr. Roger Atwood), MK. Aliza Lavi (Yesh Atid) and MK Sharren Haskel (Likud), representatives of the US Embassy, representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (including Elad Strohmayer, former Deputy Consul at the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia, where he married his partner Mr. Oren Ben Yosef at a ceremony conducted by the Mayor of Philadelphia), and representatives of various foreign embassies in Israel.

 

Ambassador Shapiro welcomed the gathering, mentioning that not only is gender equality a stated policy of the present US administration, but also something that he and his wife personally see as crucially important in achieving mutual understanding and tolerance for all communities. “Everyone is equal under the law”, he said, which is why the recent United States Supreme Court ruling that single sex marriages are now legal state-wide in the USA is so important.

 

This is not the first time that the distinguished American Ambassador and Ms. Fisher have reached out to the Israeli LGBTI community – and to other diplomats in Israel. Their actions speak much louder than any words on human rights, gender equality, civil rights and inclusion could. Their fine example has been followed by several other diplomats, and the staff at www.diplomacy.co.il salutes their efforts.

 

Mr. Berry’s words to the audience were electrifying. He spoke briefly of his personal interests (he is married and has two children and wants them to grow up in a better world) and then voiced the State Department’s aims and purpose in creating his position.

 

“When the United States Declaration of Independence stated that ‘All men are created equal’, that did not include people of color, it did not include women, and it did not include the LGBTI community. The USA has dared to redefine ‘equal’ and the change has been extraordinary.” Mr. Berry pointed out that the previous American military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was discarded for a more inclusive one only in 1998 (long after Israel’s equality in the military policy). “LGBTI equality are not ‘boutique’ rights, but are at the core of human rights issues”, he said. In his position of Special Envoy he mentioned his efforts to spur US businesses to spread their equality policies internationally, wherever they operate, and to encourage public support for the minorities there, Also his efforts facing, in his words, “communities of faith” (he had arrived in Israel directly after his talks at the Holy See in Rome) to open dialog – essential in the battle to change negative opinions.

 

After an interesting exchange of ideas with the audience in a questions-and-answers session, a rich buffet offered the opportunity for the guest to mingle and chat.

 

It’s very clear: USA policy is leading the way to gender equality worldwide.

 

 Photo Credit : 

http://diarioroatan.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Peres and the Foreign Minister of China, Mr. Wang Yi held a diplomatic work meeting and delivered joint statements

President Peres:
"Israel faces not only grave threats but also great opportunities. The threat of a nuclear Iran must be met. The chance for peace must not be ignored."

"China, as a key player in the global arena can play a crucial role in the effort to prevent a nuclear Iran"

Foreign Minister Wang Yi:
"What is important now is for all the parties concerned, Iran included, to fully comply with their respective obligations and responsibilities"

"Peace needs to be won with hard work"

 

The President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China, Mr. Wang Yi, met today at the President's Residence in Jerusalem and delivered joint statements to the press. During the meeting they discussed the Iranian nuclear threat, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and the strengthening of strategic relations between Israel and China. President Peres began the statements by welcoming his guest and said, "It is a pleasure and a privilege to have you here in Jerusalem. I thank you for the productive exchange we just had. Your visit here today represents the growing and strengthening relations between our two countries."

 

President Peres addressed the threat of a nuclear Iran and said, "Israel faces not only grave threats but also great opportunities. The threat of a nuclear Iran must be met. The chance for peace must not be ignored. Peace is the greatest chance, Iran the gravest problem. The world, in which China is a major player, should help the Iranian people to divorce themselves from the policies of threats and hostilities to prevent her from acquiring nuclear capability and serving as a center of terror. We prefer the diplomatic solution rather than military means. A united stand of the global community can bring peace and stability and relieve all of us from the dark clouds of terror and destruction. We must maintain the diplomatic pressure; ensure the sanctions regime remains effective to force Iran to comply with the inspections and limitations which the international community demands from them. We do not view the Iranian people as our enemy, our enemies are the policies and ideology driving the current Iranian regime."

 

President Peres also addressed the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and said, "While the efforts to prevent Iran from realizing its nuclear ambitions are at a crucial junction we also stand at a crossroads in the effort for peace. Peace is our greatest desire. We appreciate China's constructive support in the efforts to bring peace between us and the Palestinians, to bring peace to the Middle East and we thank you for it. As President Xi outlined in his address, two states must be the basis for the solution and can only be reached by negotiations between the two sides. Those negotiations are ongoing and the conclusion is agreed already. We must navigate the path to a successful conclusion. It is Israel and the Palestinians who must walk that path directly while enjoying the support of the international community. Your visit here and your clear support for peace strengthens those working for a peaceful solution. The people of Israel want peace, we want to live as good neighbors with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world."

 

Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressed the Iranian nuclear threat and said, "We talked about Iran and I told Mr. President that with joint efforts of the various parties, the P5+1 and Iran reached an important, also preliminary, agreement marking the first step towards the settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. What is important now is for all the parties concerned, Iran included, to fully comply with their respective obligations and responsibilities prescribed in this deal and for all the parties to work together to uphold the international non-proliferation regime and for promoting peace in the Middle East region."

 

Foreign Minister Wang Yi reflected on President Peres' words on the peace process and said, "Just now he mentioned that the peace process in the Middle East has come to a crossroads and he shared with me his strong desire for peace in the Middle East and for peace between Israel and Palestine. We strongly support your desire for peace. Mr. President told us through his own experiences that peace needs to be made through taking initiative, it will not happen on its own." The Chinese Foreign Minister added that, "Peace needs to be won with hard work, rather than waiting, it won't happen on its own. I told the president that before I came here I went to the top of the Mount of Olives and saw the Old City. In these two kilometers I saw that it is home to a large number of holy sites of civilizations and religions. We hope and believe that the various religions and civilizations will be able to integrate rather than clash, learn from and exchange with each other rather than live in mutual estrangement. We believe this day will eventually come."

Photo Credit: Mark Neiman/GPO