President Shimon Peres in Vietnam 311.
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
It’s customary for the president of any country who is hosting a foreign
counterpart to include a musical interlude from the guest’s home country as part
of the entertainment at a state dinner.
President Shimon Peres, currently
on a historic trip to Vietnam, heard a group of female Vietnamese vocalists sing
“Jerusalem of Gold” as well as a series of other songs by Israeli
singer/songwriter Naomi Shemer, including “Lu Yehi” (Let it be), Wednesday
night. Moreover, the songs were sung in perfectly pronounced Hebrew.
he saw the Vietnamese musicians, dancers and singers come on stage, Peres was
under the impression that he was going to be treated to a traditional Vietnamese
performance. But as soon as he recognized the melody, his face lit up in delight
at the pleasant surprise that President Truong Tan Sang had prepared for
The festive dinner at the Presidential Palace was attended by all
the ministers of the government, other high ranking officials, leaders of
Vietnam’s economy as well as the large business delegation including two
government ministers accompanying Peres.
The delegation had its own
surprise for Sang. Agriculture Minister Orit Noked rose to the stage and
together with the Vietnamese singers sang the original arrangement of “Lu Yehi”
to the Vietnamese host.
The faces of both presidents radiated approval as
they joined in the refrain and clapped their hands to the music.
end of the evening Sang told Peres that this was one of the most special dinners
that he had ever hosted and that he looked forward to coming to Israel on a
During the trip Peres, along with his delegation of 60
security, infrastructure, business and finance representatives, has met with
leading figures in the Vietnamese government about the importance of
strengthening strategic ties.
The Israeli business people of Peres’s
delegation were well received and their visit served to open many doors for
investment and joint ventures. They were able to network with their Vietnamese
counterparts on Thursday at an economic forum jointly organized by the Vietnam
Chamber of Commerce and the Israeli embassy.
The forum was opened by
Peres who said the size of the Vietnamese population and the large Vietnamese
market would provide numerous opportunities for both sides. Vietnam’s Deputy
Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, who attended the forum, urged Israelis to invest
Israeli dairy farm experts have a tremendous market in
Vietnam where powdered milk is the norm and fresh milk is a rarity.
president returns from Vietnam on Sunday.