President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today, Thursday 9 January / 12 Tevet, received diplomatic credentials from the new ambassadors of Gambia, Thailand, El Salvador and Benin as they take up their posts in Israel. As each ambassador arrived, their national anthem and Hatikva was played by the Israel Police Band and they reviewed an IDF honor guard. After presenting their letters of credence and an audience with the president, the ambassadors signed the Beit HaNasi guest book, ending the official ceremony.
The first to present their letters of credence to the president was Ambassador Pannabha Chandraramya of Thailand. The president welcomed her on her arrival in Israel and asked to send his regards to King Rama X. “We have excellent relations in fields such as agriculture, security, trade, tourism and education,” said the president. “The cooperation between Mashav and TIKA, the countries’ respective international development agencies, is bringing great benefit to people throughout South-East Asia. The ambassador thanked the president, saying that she hoped that there would be additional direct flights between Israel and Thailand, increasing the cooperation between the countries in a range of fields, as well as tourism.
Hector Enrique Celarie Landaverde, the new ambassador of El Salvador, was next to present his credentials to the president. “We will always remember how your Consul in Geneva, Colonel José Castellanos, saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust,” said the president and noted the possibilities for widening the cooperation in the fields of agriculture, water technology and security.
Ambassador Evelyne Togbe-Olory of Benin, who is resident in Rome, was next to be received by the president. The ambassador thanked the president for his welcome, saying “I have no doubt that when we meet in person, we understand each other better, and that is what I will do in my role as ambassador.”
The last ambassador to present his credentials to the president was Francis Rene Blain of The Gambia, the home country of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. In this regard, the president said, “At today’s ceremony, you saw the IDF honor guard, made up of our finest young people. They protect us and our country. The IDF is us, our children and grandchildren; we do not have a professional army. The IDF is the protector of the citizens of the State of Israel, and it is our duty as a state to defend our citizens, just as we yearn for peace with our neighbors.” The president continued, “We instruct our soldiers to be good professionals and to be ethical and human. As ambassador, and especially as an experienced ambassador like you, you able to see the complex security challenges Israel faces. I am sure that you will appreciate the way in which we face these challenges while maintaining high moral standards. The IDF is the most moral army in the world, despite the challenges it faces.”