Diplomacy

Forty UN Ambassadors from Around the World Visit Israel to Celebrate 70th Independence Day

Forty United Nations ambassadors representing nations in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere, visited Israel to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the modern Jewish State, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

The group of ambassadors visited sites across the country, including Masada, the Dead Sea, the border with Gaza, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. On Thursday, they attended an Independence Day event at the President’s residence and met with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The ambassadors, led by Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon, had arrived in Israel earlier in the week and met with top government officials including Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, opposition leader Isaac Herzog, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Afterwards, they toured the Old City of Jerusalem.

Ethiopian Ambassador Tekeda Alemu described the group’s visit to the Western Wall as “fantastic,” adding, “My fellow ambassadors and I learned many lessons. One lesson was the fact that there is a clear connection between the Old City of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. That is something that cannot be ignored.”

Volodymyr Yelchenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, called Jerusalem a “great place,” and said, “I wish for Jerusalem to be a place for peace and to remain such a place forever.”

In a video posted on Danon’s Facebook page, the ambassador explained in Hebrew that the ambassadors who were visiting were supporters of Israel, showed parts of the group’s itinerary, and included comments from three of the visiting ambassadors.

The goal of the trip was to familiarize the ambassadors, who vote in the U.N. on matters affecting Israel — but not always in Israel’s favor — with the challenges Israel faces. The tour also reinforced the historical Jewish connection to the land of Israel, especially in light of recent UNESCO votes denying the connection.

“The positive feelings that Guatemala has toward Jerusalem are the result of not only the Bible, but from the values of the State of Israel and the contributions it makes to the world in so many areas like science and technology,” Guatemala’s Ambassador, Jorge Skinner-Klee, observed. “I believe that the ties between our two countries will only continue to strengthen.”

The ambassadors met with IDF officers near the border with Gaza and also met with residents of the area. They also visited a terror tunnel and heard a briefing from security officials about the situation on the border.

[Photo: Danny Danon / Facebook ]