Israel celebrated its 75th birthday in the capital of Egypt in June.
Amidst challenging circumstances, the embassy joyfully hosted a reception in the garden of the Israeli ambassador's residence to mark the country’s 75th Independence Day on June 20. The atmosphere was heavy due to reports of an attack earlier that day, but despite the somber mood, efforts were made to entertain the guests and maintain a sense of normalcy. The backdrop of ongoing reports and opinions added to the complex atmosphere, including the recent attack on the Israel-Egypt border and the narrative surrounding it.
Despite the circumstances, the event welcomed notable guests and diplomats, including the director of the Israel Department at the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and representatives from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Other attendees included journalists, the head of the local Jewish community, and embassy staff.
The highlight of the evening was the performance by Ziv Yehezkel, a talented singer, bard, and oud player, accompanied by producer Eli Greenfeld. Yehezkel showcased his musical prowess by playing classical Egyptian songs and composing poems set to well-known Egyptian melodies. The positive reaction from the Egyptian audience exemplified the cultural connection Ambassador Amira Oron often emphasizes. Yehezkel's impressive knowledge of Arab music and his skillful performance left a lasting impression on the audience.
During their time in Cairo, Yehezkel and Greenfeld explored various cultural landmarks, including the synagogue, the ancient cemetery, and local markets, where they engaged with the locals, sharing music and songs in a café setting. The warm reception they received reflected the power of cultural exchange in fostering connections between nations.
The event featured Israeli wine, which was enthusiastically received by the guests, along with gifts such as Dead Sea cream. The positive and enthusiastic responses to the entire event, including the decoration, musical performances, and the ambassador's speech, were heartening, highlighting the dedication of Israeli diplomats to creating meaningful experiences despite the challenging conditions they face.
Sarah Sharif from the daily Al-Dostor reported on the event, emphasizing the significance of cultural connections. While some reactions were sarcastic, questioning why the guests were not shown in photographs, it was a deliberate choice to protect their privacy and ensure their well-being. Nonetheless, positive reactions underscored the impact and success of the event.
In the face of adversity, the embassy's celebration of Israel's 75th Independence Day served as a reminder of the enduring power of culture and connection. The event not only provided a platform for cultural exchange but also showcased the resilience and determination of Israeli diplomats to foster understanding and build bridges between nations, even during challenging times.