Foreign Relations NewsJuly 2007 - Tamuz 5767
I am delighted with the new mouthpiece afforded by this bulletin, bringing to our friends in Israel and worldwide, news of the events in our city, and specifically, our foreign relations news. Your suggestions for topics of interest to you will be most welcome!
The Honduras Embassy in Israel recently approached us to open its embassy in Rishon LeZion. While Jerusalem as capital is a worthy location for all embassies, if not located there, our city is an excellent choice. We welcome the embassy and the Ambassador who also plans to move his residence here.
The new embassy will certainly benefit from the conveniences, prestige and beauty of our city, and we welcome its arrival and the drawing closer of a country and its people to our city.
I invite you to continue to keep abreast of what’s happening in Rishon LeZion, and to visit our lovely city again soon.
At your service at all times
The numerous responses we received following the first bulletin have been very encouraging, and we have therefore decided to issue the bulletin in additional languages, for the time being, in Hebrew, as well.
Our city is blessed with many visitors, including ambassadors and groups from abroad. Apart from the great interest and pleasure these visits bring, most visitors promise to continue their contacts and activities with us. We therefore find it appropriate to update you about these, alongside news of what’s happening in our city, and the activities of the Rishon Lezion Foundation.
Director Rishon Lezion Foundation
& Foreign Relations
Seven German youngsters participating in the Pilgrimage to Jerusalem project arrived recently in Israel to meet with Israelis and discuss various questions of identity. Two of the youngsters, from twin city Muenster in Germany, stayed in Rishon Lezion and interviewed Mayor Meir Nitzan, as well as the Director of the Performing Arts Center, the Director of the municipality’s Youth Department, and teenagers in the Young Diplomats program. The German youngsters plan to write a book about their trip upon returning home.
Europe for Peace – Peace for Europe
A delegation from the Makif Hey comprehensive school paid a reciprocal visit to Muenster as part of the youth exchange program. The students were guests of the Annette Gymnasium. Students from both schools worked together on a project called: “Who are We, Who are You?”, which focused on fundamental questions that preoccupy young people from Israel and Germany. A joint presentation was prepared. The two delegations forged strong friendships, and naturally, wish to stay in contact. In searching for a new joint project, they came across Marga Spiegel, a 94-year old Jewish woman living in Muenster, who wrote a book called A Shelter in the Night. In the book, Marga Spiegel tells the story of her life and how she was saved during the Second World War by five Christian farmers and their families. Christoff Schmidt, the youngsters’ religious teacher, presented the story to the Makif Hey pupils, and suggested they participate in a youth competition called “Europe for Peace – Peace for Europe” sponsored by a Foundation in Berlin.
BRASOV celebrates its Jewish Community’s Bicentennial
The Jewish community of Brasov, Rishon LeZion’s twin city in Romania,
is celebrating 200 years since its founding with a festive and impressive gathering. A delegation led by mayor Meir Nitzan, and including, among others, Director General Doron Milberg and Youth Parliament Speaker Shiri Adelman, represented
Rishon LeZion at events and meetings with the Brasov
NIMES – Archey competition
From July 4 to July 7, Rishon Lezion hosted a delegation of archers from Nimes, Rishon’s twin city in France, as guests of the Maccabi Rishon LeZion Archery Club. The highlight was the second annual Mayor’s Cup competition, in which 59 archers from all over the country participated. The French archers displayed excellent skills, earning respectable places in the competition.
In addition to the sports events, the visit also included tours of the city organized by the Foreign Relations Department, a night tour of Tel Aviv and a trip to Jerusalem organized by the Rishon LeZion Archery Club. The guests, who were on their first visit to Israel, promised to return next year.
* Dr. Yehuda Lahav, of Rishon LeZion and born in Prešov, Slovakia, was invited back to his birthplace to present a lecture and to participate in a festive ceremony attended by the Israeli Ambassador to Slovakia as well as representatives of the local Jewish community. Lahav carried greetings from Mayor Nitzan to the Mayor of Prešov and his offer to forge a twin city agreement with Prešov. The Mayor of Prešov agreed wholeheartedly.
* Former Foreign Relations Director Rina Shiponi was invited to the annual convention of Metro-West, New Jersey, USA, a twin city with which Rishon LeZion has had close ties over the past 28 years. Ms. Shiponi was awarded a citation in recognition of her role in the relationship.
* The Metro-West community continues to support Rishon LeZion, and this year is renovating the old community center in Neve Eliyahu in order to transform it into a child development center to be run by the community center.
* TheKorean Ambassador. Kak Soo Shin, and First Secretary Saeng Kim,
paid a visit to Rishon LeZion to promote cultural ties between South Korea
and the city. After a reception at the Mayor’s office, the guests toured the western
part of the city with the Director of the Rishon LeZion Foundation &
Foreign Relations and with the CEO of the Performing Arts Center, and laid a wreath at the Holocaust Memorial.The Ambassador looked at the possibility of staging a concert and other
Korean cultural events at the Arts Center.
* The Australian Ambassador James Larsen arrived in Rishon LeZion on a
visit, accompanied by Gurion Meltzer, Chairman of the Israel-Australia
Chamber of Commerce. The Ambassador met with the Mayor and also learnt from the Rishon LeZion Museum curator about the Ayun Kara battle that raged in the south of town 90 years ago, in which Australian soldiers fought to free the city of Ottoman rule. The Ambassador also learnt about the operations of the Meniv water plant from CEO Daniel Low, and about the educational program on environmental protection for pre-schoolers from Pre-School Education Department Director, Shulamit Zakai. The Ambassador showed great interest in all these issues. He is taking steps to hold a ceremony to mark 90 years since the the Ayun Kara battle, to have an Australian delegation meet with Meniv to study the plant’s special achievements, and to arrange cooperation between school and kindergarten teachers to promote an educational program on environmental protection.
* During a visit by the Charge D’Affairs of the Philippine Embassy, the dedication of a
monument was discussed to commemorate the shelter given by the people of the Philippines
to save Jews during the Second World War.The monument will be erected to mark 50 years of Israel- Philippines relations.
* The Ethiopian Ambassador paid a visit to Rishon LeZion meeting with the Mayor and other city senior officials. The Ambassador announced that he would take steps to organize a visit by the Mayor of Gundar to Rishon LeZion. The Ambassador visited the Holocaust Memorial and held an open meeting with the city’s Ethiopian residents.
Ten South American Ambassadors and diplomats dropped into Rishon LeZion as part of the city’s initiative to establish a club where the Ambassadors and business community can meet. Mayor Nitzan received the guests, and led a visit to the Meniv water plant, to the “Nobel Prize Laureates” Neighborhood and to the War of Independence Memorial. Mayor Nitzan emphasized the critical role played by the Latin American countries 60 years ago in voting for the UN resolution to partition Palestine, leading to the establishment of the State of Israel. This was followed by a lunch at the Yekev Club hosted by Arie Guri, a native of Uruguay, and attended by senior officials from the Foreign Ministry, public figures, College of Management staff, and senior municipal employees. Jaime Aron, a city resident, former Israel Ambassador to Columbia and incumbent Honorary President of the Israel- Latin America Chamber of Commerce, agreed to head the club.
“Am Israel” – Peace Representative
“Am Israel” is a private philanthropic organization seeking to bring peace to the world. Its members include people the world over and of all religions. Representatives who arrived in Israel to participate in the organization’s annual convention in Jerusalem arranged in conjunction with the Foreign Ministry, expressed a desire to visit Rishon LeZion in order to see its achievements at first hand. A group of about 150 made the visit and were met by the Mayor. In a moving ceremony, the visitors laid a wreath at the Holocaust Memorial and toured the west of the city, led by guides from the Rishon LeZion Museum. The group also attended a performance of the “Kol Rishon” choir at the “Yad Labanim” Auditorium, and a panel discussion on the subject of culture, heritage and giving.
The group‘s leaders expressed an interest in supporting Rishon LeZion Foundation activities.
Youth Day in Rishon LeZion
Youth Day, which included a one-day handover of power from senior city officials and other city officers officers to the youth leadership was held recently.
The youngsters were also taken on a tour of the city’s various development projects by Mayor Nitzan . One of the highlights of the day was a festive session of the city council run by the youngsters, emulatingsenior elected officials. Issues of interest to youngsters were discussed, such as school trips to Poland, and the educational values taught at school. The day ended with a performance of world music at the city hall plaza.
My Kindergarten has a Special Name
The names of the city’s kindergartens will soon change from numbers to names from children’s literature. The city is divided into seventeen learning communities according to geographic affiliation. Each community has been given a list of authors, poets and names from which they can choose the title of a literary work, name of a character, or line from a literary work, etc.
The Rishon Soccer Team makes it to the National League
The “Ironi Rishon” soccer team concluded a particularly difficult but rewarding season. Around 4,500 fans celebrated the promotion to the National League with the team, and all are optimistic about the future. The team’s chairman announced their goal to return to the Premiere League.
“YE’ELIM” Scholarship Ceremony
At an emotional ceremony, “Ye’elim”, a non-profit society comprising pilots, retired IDF officers and other people of good will, handed out forty scholarships to youngsters to encourage further studies and achievements. Money was collected by giving flying lessons to amateur pilots and lectures.
The money goes strictly to scholarships for students from families of limited means. The project enjoys the support of commercial companies and the Rishon LeZion Foundation.
At its latest meeting, the Rishon LeZion Foundation Board decided to establish a CEO club in Rishon Lezion, slated to start operating in the autumn. CEOs of companies and organizations operating in Rishon Lezion or residing here are invited to join. The club will take practical steps to promote values such as excellence and a spirit of giving for the benefit of the city and its residents. “Globes” newspaper management has expressed an interest in participating in the Club and its activities.
DISCHARGED SOLDIERS’ HOUSE
Soon, young members of Rishon LeZion and other communities in Israel will
be able to lead independent lives immediately after completing their full
military service. Low cost independent housing will be provided to
discharged soldiers, enabling them to develop and cope with the real world:
work, vocational studies or higher education. Nosra and Hillel Nambar of
Los Angeles initiated establishment of the building, contributing $5,000,000 through their representative Aharon Shirazi, in memory of their parents in
this very special manner. City Director General Doron Milberg enlisted in the initiative, together with the Rishon LeZion Foundation and the Rishon LeZion Economic Corporation (Hakar).
Construction of the “Sara and Hillel House” is currently underway, and will
comprise 120 housing units for the benefit ofthese youngsters. The building
is expected to be populated in 2008.
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