Message on the occasion of Israel’s 66th Independence Day

By H.E. Ambassador of the State of Israel to Bucharest, Mr. Dan-Ben-Eliezer

Today Israel celebrates sixty six years since its establishment. In 1948 Israel declared independence in the historical homeland of the Jewish people and joined the family of nations. Our anniversary is a time to reflect on past achievements and contemplate future challenges.
Throughout history, the Jewish people lived in the land of Israel and maintained their bond with their homeland. The State of Israel is the realization of the Jewish people’s longing to return, after 2000 years of exile, to their ancestral cradle, Jerusalem, and to build with passion and a true sense of destiny a home for eternity. The return of Jewish refugees from over 100 countries, many of whom were from Arab countries and survivors of the horrors of the Holocaust, accomplished the biblical prophecy of “the ingathering of the exiles”. Together with Israelis already living in the country, they created a safe haven for the Jewish people, after centuries of persecution and displacement.
Out of the difficulties and challenges of a barren land with no natural resources, the country’s founders successfully transformed an arid desert into a green and viable agricultural region, on which Israel’s economy was initially built. Since then great accomplishments have emanated.
Though small in its size, Israel is an outstanding modern state, a vibrant democracy that guarantees civil rights to all its citizens, irrespective of religion, race or gender, with a pluralistic and diverse society – a colourful mosaic of cultures religions and lifestyles, and a strong economy based on high-tech, in which research and development play an integral part.
Through cutting-edge scientific and technological advances, Israel stands proudly at the forefront of many fields. Israeli scientists have contributed to the advancement of spheres such as agriculture, healthcare, genetics, computer science, electronics, telecommunications, homeland security and renewable energy, and some of the inventions developed in Israel have made breakthroughs that help improve people’s lives.
Our advantage stems from excellent research institutes and universities, and most importantly the concentration of exceptional hi-tech start-up companies. That is why Israel is often called the Start-Up Nation. We are an innovation nation, a global centre not only for science and technology, but also for the indispensable ingredient of entrepreneurship. Israel hosts branches of many of the world’s major multinational corporations, particularly in technologically-advanced industries, and the state encourages local and foreign investment by offering a wide range of incentives and benefits.
In the last year, two new fields have emphasized Israel’s ability in realizing further achievements. The first is the exploitation of gas in the Mediterranean, which has revealed natural reserves that allow Israel to become an exporter. This upgrades Israel’s strategic position, by offering opportunities for cooperation with pragmatic regional players and generating business ventures with companies in the energy sector from many different countries, including Romania. The second topic is cyber security, one of the most important topics of this age, in which Israel is becoming a global centre for excellence.  This tremendous potential, to be a lea
ding power in wide-scope of expertise, leads us to envision a bright future for Israel.
However, daily life in Israel continues to be dictated by efforts for achieving security and a genuine and enduring peace. During the last talks, we have carried out difficult steps and we have shown to the Palestinians willingness to continue implementing moves that are not easy, in order to create a framework that would allow putting an end to the long-lasting conflict. We are still waiting for our neighbours to make necessary parallel concessions to achieve peace. Israel has so much to offer to the Middle East, so this could be a great gain for all.
Also, we have much to offer to like-minded friendly countries, such is our strategic partner Romania. Israel has a historically close relation with Romania, and at the basis of the fruitful cooperation our two countries have been enjoying in all fields stand a historic bond between our peoples, common principles and values. These special relations are sustained and enhanced by two communities that serve as a bridge between Israel and Romania: a very large community of Israelis originating from Romania that maintain their connection to this beautiful country, and a strong Jewish community in Romania that strives to preserve the Jewish tradition and heritage, which should be commended for its continuous support to Israel.
The closeness of our ties is underlined by the bilateral political and strategic dialogue that has reached an all-time high level, manifested through visits from both countries. In the recent months were the visits of President Traian Basescu, Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean, and other prominent decision-makers. This month, in a special visit of the Romanian Royal Family, Princess Margareta and Price Paul could feel the warmth and gratitude of the Israeli public and Government officials for the courageous efforts of Her Majesty Queen Mother Elena of Romania in assisting persecuted Jews during the Holocaust, for which she was granted the title “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The culmination of our political dialogue and cooperation was marked in November 2011 with the first Government to Government meeting and we are looking forward to the second meeting this year, during which further projects will be discussed and additional bilateral agreements will be signed in diverse areas.
Furthermore, our countries share a long tradition and dynamic cooperation in the strategic, cultural, academic, scientific, technical and economic realms. Regarding economic cooperation, Israel is one of Romania’s main trading partners in the Middle East, with a significant presence of leading companies, and investments surpassing 3 billion dollars. Another area of interest with big potential for both our countries is tourism. In 2013 Israel was the fifth top country with more than 120,000 tourists that came to Romania. Therefore, the Romanian Government’s decision to reopen its centre for tourism in Israel will further promote our tourism markets and attract investments in this area.
The State of Israel has succeeded in realizing many achievements despite the difficult challenges it faced both internally and internationally. There is much to be proud of, as Israel marks the 66th anniversary of its statehood. Looking ahead, we believe there is enormous room for further expanding and deepening our bilateral cooperation, through joint initiatives, projects and research, and we aspire with confidence and optimism to enjoy together a peaceful, stable and prosperous future.

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