President Rivlin welcomes 5 new ambassadors

President Rivlin receives the diplomatic credentials of new Ambassadors from Belgium, Latvia, Switzerland, Greece, & Finland

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

President Rivlin Welcomes Greek Ambassador
President Rivlin Welcomes Greek Ambassador
Foreign Ministry

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday received the diplomatic credentials of new ambassadors to Israel from Belgium, Latvia, Switzerland, Greece, and Finland. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the ambassador's country.

President Rivlin first welcomed Belgian Ambassador H.E Mr. Olivier Belle. The president spoke about the importance of the relationship and friendship between the two peoples, and of “the need to fight - not Islam – but terror.” He added, “You are the army and the police that protects the heart of the European Union.” President Rivlin concluded by extending an official invitation to the King of Belgium to visit Israel in the near future. The Ambassador spoke of the need to work to fight against discrimination and anti-Semitism.

The President then welcomed Latvian Ambassador H.E Ms. Elita Gavele. He spoke of the importance of Holocaust education, and added, “We would like to emphasize the importance of your efforts to educate the next generations about what happened in the Holocaust, and to understand this must be remembered by all mankind and humanity." Ambassador Gavele thanked the President and noted that “The Jewish people in Latvia have done so much for our country, and there are nearly 4,000 Israeli citizens here from Latvia,” who she noted were an important bridge between the two peoples.

President Rivlin then received the diplomatic credentials of the Swiss Ambassador H.E Mr. Jean-Daniel Ruch. He noted that “Next year we will commemorate 120 years since the first Zionist Congress which took place in Basel. It is well known that Herzl said ‘In Basel I established the new Jewish state’.” He noted: “Switzerland is also very important to Israel in terms of commerce, and we are cooperating in many fields including the need to safeguard the whole world,” in the face of security threats.

Ambassador Ruch thanked the President and said that “Israel and Switzerland share many similarities - we are around the same size, with diverse societies.” He noted that “We also have many personal connections. There are around 20,000 Swiss citizens living in Israel, the largest Swiss community east of Europe. This has developed into a vast array of economic, cultural, and nowadays scientific links and cooperation.” He said that, “Among many in Switzerland, Israel is seen as almost a sister country in hi-tech and the development of sciences.”

President Rivlin then welcomed Ambassador of Greece, H.E Mr. Konstantinos Bikas. “It is a real honor to welcome an ambassador from the state which is the birthplace of democracy," said the President, and added, "the connection between the Greek people and the Jewish people is thousands of years old. As much as someone could never say that the Acropolis is not part of the Greek people, no one could say the Western Wall is not the place where Jews have prayed for centuries. We do not need to imagine history - we can see history,” in a clear allusion to UNESCO's decision to deny Jewish connection to the Western Wall.

Lastly, President Rivlin welcomed Ambassador of Finland. H.E Ms. Anu Saarela and said, “I admire Finland’s attitude toward education, the most important thing for every leader in Finland.” He added, “We can agree to disagree on many issues, but we share the values of democracy and the dignity and the honor of all people.”

Ambassador Saarela said, “Thank you for kind words about my country. We share much more than divides us," The Ambassador stressed, “We also share the objective of peace. I would like to especially stress what you said, and salute you for defending the fundamental values we share of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. These are the values on which our countries are built.”