Israeli President hosted a diaspora reception for Cypriot and Greek delegations

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted a reception on Wednesday for Greek and Cypriot delegations who visited the country to attend under an observer status the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Board of Governors’ meeting. Both delegations had a first-hand orientation on the ways the Israeli state has deepened its ties with the global Jewish community and discussed frameworks to improve already warm relations with Cypriot and Greek Diasporas.

The Cypriot delegation was led by the Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Overseas Cypriots, Photis Photiou while the Greek mission was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister, Terens Nikolaos Quick. The meeting was scheduled after an initiative of former Jewish Agency President Natan Sharansky. President Sharansky was the first to invite Cyprus and Greece’s representations within the organisation’s meetings since early 2017. The Jewish Agency former President envisioned the possible establishment of a trilateral partnership scheme among the three countries’ diaspora institutions. The current President of Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog, who also attended the Wednesday’s reception, visited Nicosia in December 2018 to further cultivate the already positive ties. The Tel Aviv reception on Wednesday was a follow-up procession of the Nicosia meeting. The Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency is one of the leading representations of Jewish diaspora communities.

The Israeli President welcomed the foreign delegations and claimed that the three countries have been enmeshed into a strategic alliance, not plain neighbourly relations. One of the connecting points of this alliance is the strong ties between diaspora communities and motherland governments. The Israeli President concluded his welcome speech with an expression of hope that the initiative would befit all parties involved. For his part, the head of the Greek delegation stated that the country’s foreign policy aspires to become not simply an honest broker in the Eastern Mediterranean region, but an honest friend. In this context, the Greek Deputy Minister argued that joint Greek-Israeli committees from the respective Ministries of Education have initiated joint action programmes to combat the expansion of antisemitism. Meanwhile, the Head of Cyprus delegation welcomed the Israeli President’s warm reception and replied in exchange that Cyprus embodies not only a friendly neighbour but also the Israeli ambassador within the European Union’s premises.

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