Embassy of Israel in Pretoria celebrates 65 years of Israeli excellence

Yom Ha-Atzmaut at the Embassy

  •   Embassy of Israel in Pretoria celebrates 65 years of Israeli excellence

    The annual Yom Ha-Atzmaut celebrations at the Embassy of Israel, Pretoria took place this year on Thursday, 18 April 2013.  Guests were welcomed to the sunny Embassy lawn to show their support for Israel and share in her independence day celebrations.   The beautiful sound of music and the fresh aroma of Israeli themed food filled the air as everyone enjoyed an afternoon reflecting on Israel and her accomplishments and joining together with our many South African friends to rejoice in the cooperation between the two countries and the wonderful work that has been accomplished due to collaboration and partnership with so many wonderful people and organizations here in South Africa.

    Among the many prestigious friends who attended the event were His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini- King of the Zulu Nation, Her Majesty Queen Thandi, Queen of Linduzulu Palace, His Grace, the Right- Rev. Bishop Dr. B.E. Lekganyane -Head of the Zionist Christian Church, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe MP- President of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), and Ambassador C.T. Rubushe, Chief Director of Middle East at DIRCO.  Others include Chairmen and representatives of local communal organizations, Ambassadors, representatives of Christian organizations, MPs, government officials, and local artists. Altogether, there were over 400 guests.

    His Excellency, Ambassador Dov Segev Steinberg was grateful for such an outstanding event filled with such high calibre guests.  In his welcoming speech, he shared hopes for peace and the “desire to build bridges towards meaningful dialogue with our Palestinian neighbours in order to find resolves based on the principal of a two state solution.”  He spoke of the “incredible strides” that Israel has made in industries such as “technology, medicine, science, education, agriculture and more” and Israel’s want and willingness to share her knowledge and capabilities with others.  Lastly, the Ambassador spoke on a personal note, summarizing his past five years in South Africa, noting that as he prepares to leave his post here, he will remember it as one of his most interesting and enjoyable posts; “This has been my experience in South Africa which will always have a special place in my heart.”

    Conveying a message from the South African Government, Ambassador C.T. Rubushe reflected the long going contributions of the Jewish community in South Africa “… many contributed significantly to South Africa’s development…Many [Jews]…took part in the anti-apartheid and liberation struggle...”  With regard to bilateral relations, Ambassador Rubushe praised “the incredible contributions that Israel has made to South Africa,” saying “These valuable projects…are much needed and also complementary to the objectives of our own National Development Programme.”

    His Majesty, King Zwelithini echoed Ambassador Rubushe in sharing his hopes for further cooperation between the two countries, specifying the importance of exchanges in agricultural know-how to develop South Africa’s most rural areas, and the desire for collaboration between the youth of the countries.  He praised the ability of the Jewish people to always rise, categorizing Israel’s history as one filled with numerous paradoxes and tragedy, but most of all, triumph.  

    His Majesty the King, Ambassador Dov Segev Steinberg and Ambassador C.T. Rubushe, Chief Director, Middle East at DIRCO ​

    Photo Credit:  Mr. Ilan Ossendryver

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