It was William Shakespeare who famously wrote, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”, a sentiment that I have had many occasions to deal with throughout my diplomatic career. Every posting leaves an indelible imprint on one’s psyche as it is impossible to not be impressed by the many experiences derived from a lengthy tenure in a foreign land.
No less so, has been my unforgettable five years in South Africa, unique in more ways than I care to mention. The sights, scenes, smells and almost overwhelming colours of Africa are unique on our planet and must be experienced to be appreciated. So, I find myself finally departing with decidedly mixed feelings, happy to return to my home, family and friends but knowing that removing the man from South Africa does not remove South Africa from the man.
My period of service as Ambassador of Israel has not been without its challenges. From the word “go”, it exposed me to the reality that Israel could not expect a free ride on the rollercoaster of international politics. In this regard, it resulted in my task becoming a great deal more challenging and, ultimately, rewarding.
However, with the assistance of my local colleagues who so ably run the several organizations committed to Jewish and Israeli interests in this country, and many concerned and committed friends, I quickly learned that best approach was to stand up and proudly uphold the principles that Israel as a nation has defended and promoted for the past 65 years. This is the task of the diplomat and I am honoured to have been chosen to perform it on behalf of Israel in this fascinating country.
With my imminent departure looming I wish to thank each and every one of you who have extended the personal hand of friendship, hospitality and love for the State of Israel. My tenure in South Africa has indeed been unforgettable and an experience which would not have been as memorable without your ever-present support. You will remain forever in my heart.
Dov Segev Steinberg
Photo: Ambassador Segev Steinberg plants a tree in the Embassy garden before leaving