President Rivlin met with the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, who is visiting Israel

photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

Israel President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin this morning, 25 October / 16 Cheshvan, recived diplomatic credentials from the new Ambassadors of Cameroon, Guatemala, Germany, Hungary and Japan to the State of Israel at a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag, inspecting a IDF guard of honor and the playing of the national anthems of the ambassador’s country and of the State of Israel by the Israel Police Band. The new ambassador presented their credentials to the president and signed the guest book. Later in the morning, the president met the President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, who is visiting Israel.

First to present his letter of credence was HE Ambassador Jean-Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam of Cameroon. President Rivlin wished him all success in his post and said, “the relations between Israel and Cameroon are strong and important. Israel will continue to offer humanitarian aid to Cameroon, particularly in the fields of agriculture and medicine – building capacity, training and instruction.”

The Cameroonian ambassador thanked the president and said, “I am delighted to be appointed Cameroon’s ambassador to Israel. The cooperation between our countries in the field of agriculture is very important and I hope we are able to deepen it. I well remember my first visit here in 2002 and am happy to return here as ambassador.”

Following this, HE Ambassador Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores of Guatemala presented his credentials to the president. “Guatemala is one of Israel’s oldest friends,” said President Rivlin, recalling that Guatemala was the second country in the world to recognize Israel’s independence. “Here in Jerusalem we have a Guatemala Street and a Guatemala School – and now the Guatemalan Embassy. The cooperation between our two countries in agriculture, water and medicine is flourishing and is important to both of us.”

The Ambassador of Guatemala said with emotion that he had come from his country’s embassy in Jerusalem. “Our countries have been friends forever, and you expressed the depth of that friendship when you came to our aid after the eruption of the volcano this year. The first three words I have learnt in Hebrew are ‘tachles’ (down-to-earth), ‘pituach’ (development) and ‘shalom’ (peace). Let these three words be with us during our time here.”

Following this, HE Ambassador Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer of Germany presented her credentials. The president welcomed her back to Israel and said, “Our two countries share a painful past but it is the basis for our strong and important relations today. As I said to Chancellor Merkel last week, our people-to-people relations are just as important as our government-to-government links. Our countries share values and a hope for the future based on our shared belief in peace and democracy.”

The German ambassador thanked the president for his warm welcome and said, “this is an emotional moment for me. I feel like I am coming home. It is a great privilege to serve both our peoples in this way. The relations between our countries are strong and deep but we can always find new ways to enrich our relations.”

Next to present his letter of credence was HE Ambassador Levente Benko of Hungary. “Hungary was home to the Jews and today has the largest Jewish community in eastern and central Europe, as well as a thousand Israeli students studying there. The bilateral relationship is strong and I want to thank the Hungarian government for its support of Israel in the European and international arena. As we are witness to growing anti-Semitism in Europe, we must be clear that there is zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. We will continue to work together with you to ensure that the Jewish community in Hungary is safe and secure.”

The Hungarian ambassador thanked the president and said, “Relations between our countries are at a historical high. Hungary and Israel are like-minded when it comes to the big issues we face – national identity, sovereignty and security. Hungary stands up for Israel in the European and international arena because we see Israel as an important strategic partner. Be assured, Mr. President, that Hungary will not tolerate anti-Semitism.”

Finally, HE Ambassador of Japan Koichi Aiboshi, presented his letter of credence to President Rivlin. “Welcome to Israel, Mr. Ambassador,” said the president. “This is an exciting time for our two countries, and the sun is indeed rising over Israeli-Japanese relations. We share a deep commitment to the same values – democracy, freedom and the pursuit of peace. I want to thank Japan for its investment in the Japan Agro Industrial Park in Jericho. It is proof of the importance of doing what can be done, rather than talking about what cannot be done. I was happy to welcome Prime Minister Abe earlier in the year. He brought a large delegation of business leaders and we were delighted to see the cooperation deepen and widen over a large number of sectors.”

The Ambassador of Japan conveyed the good wishes of Emperor Akihito, and said, “The Japanese people thanks the State of Israel for the medical aid after last year’s earthquake. This exemplifies the deep friendship between the countries. I am proud that over the last ten years Japan has worked with partners in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan to establish the Japan Agro Industrial Park. We will continue to work to develop the excellent relations we have in the field of innovation and technology.”

Later in the morning, the president welcomed President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Schäuble to the President’s Residence. “We must never forget the past, but we look towards the future together. It is a great honour to welcome you, the defender of German parliamentary democracy, to this house.”

“As someone who was born in 1942,” said the president of the Bundestag, “the existence of modern Germany is a kind of a miracle. As the German historian Fritz Stern said, we have been given a second chance. Therefore, we must remember the past but we must never give in to pessimism about the future. We are capable of confronting any challenge. We must build a better world based on our shared values.”

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