Viet Nam News
On the occasion of the Independence Day of the State of Israel today (May 12), Việt Nam News presents an article written by Israeli Ambassador to Việt Nam, Meirav Eilon Shahar.
I have the pleasure to celebrate once again the Independence Day of the State of Israel here in Việt Nam. This year, for our 68th anniversary, I would like the people of Việt Nam to discover some of the characteristics of Israelis.
A young society with ancient roots, Israel is home to a widely diverse population of more than 8 million citizens from many different backgrounds - a mosaic of people living together and contributing to its vibrant democracy. With an energetic, can-do spirit and remarkable social mobility, the inclusiveness of Israeli society celebrates the right to be different and empowers this broad range of people to coexist in harmony.
The land of Israel has a special meaning for all three main monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), and Israel is home to a variety of thriving religious communities. 75 per cent of the population of Israel is Jewish while the other 25 per cent consists of Muslims, Christians, Baha’i and other minorities.
Life in Israel is anything but static. The rate of socio-economic mobility, at over 70 per cent, is among the highest in the world. As citizens of a young, dynamic country, Israelis select their own destinies, regardless of their background.
Yesterday night in Jerusalem, on the Eve of our Independence Day, 12 candles were lit by remarkable Israelis that have made major contributions to Israel. It is a custom we do every year and with that we conclude the Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers who died defending Israel and open the Independence Day festivities.
This year we chose the theme "Courageous Citizens" and the ceremony recognised Israelis who saved lives during war, terror, natural disasters around the world and helped people with disabilities. They come from all walks of life with different background, religion, ethnicity and gender. Such is the story of Gabi Barshishet, 49, who was honoured for his volunteer work with the Megilot Rescue Unit and expert involved in key rescue missions in Nepal, Haiti, Japan, the Philippines, and elsewhere in the world.
I believe Vietnamese and Israeli people share the same "courage" characteristic and unity. That together with the fact that we have been facing similar challenges from historical to modern times results in a close relationship between our countries.
The closeness of our ties is underlined by the growing bilateral political and strategic dialogue facilitated through high level visits. Last year we were honoured to host the official visit by Deputy Prime Minister Mr Hoàng Trung Hải accompanied by a large group of businesspeople, Deputy Prime Minister and former Chairman of Central Economic Committee Mr Vương Đình Huệ, and Chairman of Central Commission for External Relations Mr Hoàng Bình Quân.
Furthermore, our countries share dynamic co-operation in the academic, scientific, technical and economic realms. After 23 years of diplomatic ties, Việt Nam and Israel have become important partners. In terms of commerce, Israel is one of Việt Nam’s major partners in the Middle East with bilateral trade volume of US$2.3 billion in 2015.
Israel is proud to be a partner of Việt Nam in knowledge sharing and transfer of know-how. As we believe human resources are key to the sustainable development of any country, Israel has been providing capacity building and training programmes to Việt Nam in multiple fields such as agriculture, water management, food security, education and entrepreneurship.
On this occasion, I would like to wish everyone in Việt Nam good health and prosperity as we say in Hebrew, "Yom Hatzmaut Sameach". VNS