On the occasion of the Israel's National Day on April 25, Viet Nam News presents an article prepared by the Ambassador of Israel to Viet Nam, Amnon Efrat.
|Amnon Efrat, Israeli Ambassador to Viet Nam.
In the last year, bilateral relations between Israel and Viet Nam progressed well. The turnover trade continues to grow and has surpassed US$450 million. Three bilateral agreements have been concluded and work on others is proceeding well. Existing co-operation in fields such as modern agriculture, water management, information technology and others have been developed and further expanded.
In March this year, we had a delegation of water companies come to Viet Nam to conduct a seminar and meet with Vietnamese counterparts.
A highlighted area of co-operation is milk production, which includes the Revolutionary Diary Project – Israel's Afimilk and TH of Viet Nam in Nghe An Province. The project is considered to be the largest of its kind in the world. Another project in this field is the experimental Dairy Farm in Binh Chanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, which is in the last stage of construction.
In recent years, hundreds of Vietnamese participants have attended Israel's international training pro-grammes, both in Israel and Viet Nam, for a wide range of subjects, including modern agriculture, water, IT, aquaculture, women's empowerment, community development and more.
In addition, each year, hundreds of trainees participate in an 11-month training programme that combines work and study.
The historical visit last November of the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, to Viet Nam, opened a new opportunity for strengthening our relationship and enhancing the ties between the two countries.
|Cultural exchange: Israeli band MOSAIC entertain audiences at the Hue festival with a performance of diverse music including traditional Israeli folk songs. — Photo courtesy Israeli Embassy.
In addition, in January 2011, we had an official visit by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai to Ha Noi and met with Chairman Nguyen The Thao. Both sides agreed to continue the dialogue, with an aim to explore ways for further cooperation between Ha Noi and Tel Aviv.
From the Vietnamese side, in May 2011, we had a visit from Le Doan Hop, minister of Communications and Information, to Israel – the first visit of its kind, and a visit of Bui Ba Bong, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, with a delegation of 70 members.
This May, a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is supposed to attend the International Agriculture Exhibition – Agritech which is conducted every two years.
Culture exchange has flourished. In December 2011, a delegation from Viet Nam Writers Association visited Israel. Later, a famous Israeli writer, Shifra Horn, paid a working visit to Viet Nam. The famous Israeli poet Sabina Messeg also participated in the International Poetry Festival in Ha Long, Quang Ninh Province in February 2012.
Israel at a glance:
Population: 7,881,000 (updated to 2011)
Language: Hebrew, Arabic
Currency: The Israeli currency is the New Israeli Sheqel (NIS), which is divided into 100 agorot (as of January 1986).
National flag: The colours blue and white were chosen according to the colours of the ‘Tallit' – the Jewish prayer shawl. The Star of David appearing in the centre of the flag has been a Jewish symbol for hundreds of years.
Website of the Israeli Embassy in Vietnam: http://embassies.gov.il/hanoi
At the invitation of Hue Festival Organisation Committee, an Israeli group of musicians, named MOSAIC performed at the festival with diverse music including traditional Israeli folk songs.
Political issues are integral part of our bilateral relations. Obviously, we may have sometimes different views on some issues. The challenge for me, in that regard, is to present Israel's perspective and to try to get support for it.