Diplomats celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary

April 20, 2018 Agencies
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Australia’s ambassador Chris Cannan joined ambassadors diplomats from across the world at President Reuven Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem to celebrate Israel’s 70th Independence Day.

President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu with ambassadors, diplomats and military attaches     Chris Cannan is middle row 5th from right    Photo: Kobi Gideon

Also participating in the event were Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Mrs. Sara Netanyahu.
In his address, President Rivlin noted that the uniqueness of the event marking Israel’s 70th anniversary, “Today we are marking history, we are marking 70 years of the State of Israel. We are marking 70 years of Jewish independence. We are marking 70 years of a vibrant democracy, 70 years of strong and independent civil society, 70 years that this nation has held high the torch of freedom and equality in a difficult region.”
The President spoke of the country’s many achievements in many fields, and said, “For 70 years, Israel has been reaching out around our region, and around the world, to share our knowledge and our experience. From food security, to cyber security, Israel is making a better tomorrow for millions of people, today. And over the last 70 years, we have managed to make peace with many who used to be enemies. In all of these achievements, we are never alone. And we have never been alone. Israel was created thanks to a wide international support, and we continue to do good, with the help of all of you, dear friends and allies.” He added, “And today more than ever, international cooperation is the key to a better, safer, more peaceful future. Our friendships are not just between governments, not between companies or business, they are between peoples. And I know that all of your peoples, along with us, hope that we won’t have to wait another 70 years for peace in this region. We will not stop trying. Yes, we will do everything to defend ourselves. We may have to build fences to stop terrorists, or to act in different ways to assure the safety of our people, but we will never close the door on peace. I know you all see this as a priority. So do we. And while there are no shortcuts in the Middle East, we can work together to show the Palestinians that we can live together side by side in peace.”
The President went on to stress, “Of course there are others who do not want peace, and added, “The Iranian regime – not the Iranian people – continues to support terror and hatred and to endanger world’s security. This is a challenge for the whole world, and the whole world must face it together. We all must do everything we can to stop these evil regime.”

Australian ambassador Chris Cannan’s message in Ivrit for the 70th

He added, “The heart breaks when we look at the pictures in Syria. We took care of thousands injured that have arrived at our gates, but the atrocities by Assad’s regime and by Assad himself are of the worst in the history of the world and of this ancient region. The next generation will ask us all, what did we do to stop the tragedy in Syria? What did we do to stop these crimes; crimes against humanity, crimes against innocent children, women, civilians.”

The President concluded by saying, “Thank you for coming to celebrate with us today, in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, and today, the capital of the State of Israel.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “There are two things that you can do to help Israel celebrate this great Independence Day. The first thing is – speak out against Iran. Iran is the enemy of us all – of Israel, the Arab world, Civilization. It openly speaks today, 2018, the 21st century, it openly speaks about liquidating Israel, openly! It encircles the whole Middle East which it wants to conquer, it fires rockets into Riyadh and Saudi Arabia, it is occupying Lebanon effectively, it’s trying to inflame Gaza again, it is in Iraq, and it is trying to establish a military base in Syria, which all peace-loving nations should resist, speak out against Iran. If history has taught us anything, it is that a murderous tyranny must be opposed in the beginning. Stop bad things in the beginning.

The second thing you can do to advance peace is to move your embassy here. We are delighted with President Trump’s decision to move the embassy here. It says a simple thing: Peace must be based on truth.

Recognising reality is the way you build peace. You cannot build peace on a foundation of lies because it crashes on the rocks of reality. It’s important to establish those principles that will ultimately guide peace: that Israel has a capital, that the Jewish people have had a capital for 3,000 years and that it’s called Jerusalem – is uncontestable. It’s time to recognize that fact. I’m delighted to say that there are at least half a dozen countries that are now seriously discussing with us, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and thank you Guatemala for doing that. There will be others to follow.

So please, there’s a simple principle, you’re familiar with it: First come, first served. I’ve decided that the first ten embassies to come here will get preferential treatment. We’ll help you! All of you should do that. And I want to say how delighted we are here to see you at the President’s house, in our capital Jerusalem on this day, but we want to see you every day. So ‘This year in Jerusalem.’ Thank you for coming here, thank you for celebrating our independence and our rebirth here in the Jewish state.”

Ambassador Chris Cannan sent J-Wire the translation of his message:

This week, the modern state of Israel will turn 70 years young. Israel’s transformation into a dynamic and prosperous nation with a strong democracy continues to prosper. Long it may do so. We Australians are proud to be a part of Israel’s story. From the Battle of Beersheba a hundred years ago to our support to the UN Partition Plan in 1947, to our defence and hi-tech cooperation today, Australia has been a strong supporter and friend of Israel from the beginning. Our two countries may be geographically distant but our relationship is only getting closer. Happy Birthday, Israel! L’Chaim!

GPO/J-Wire

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