Reuven Rivlin .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UN Security Council Resolution 2334 followed by the address of US Secretary of State Kerry “placed Israel on the bench of the accused,” said President Reuven Rivlin at the annual convention of Israeli diplomats serving in Europe on Sunday.
To be able to confront challenges of this kind and to fight back, Israel needs its diplomats to defend its path and its policies, and to spearhead any action that needs to be taken in this regard.
Rivlin told the diplomats that in an era of so many changes around the globe, Israel’s sovereignty and independence and the safeguarding of her interests were reliant on the combined strength of her defense forces and her diplomatic corps, together with her technological and scientific achievements and her ability to build up connections.
The three issues of sovereignty, independence and safeguarding of interests were always Israel’s top priorities and will continue to be so, he said.
Today, more than ever, Rivlin asserted, professional diplomats are central and essential to Israel’s maintaining her qualitative edge nationally and internationally.
Against the backdrop of the UN Resolution, Rivlin said that diplomats are Israel’s soft power: “Israel was not attacked by tanks, planes or missiles, yet even so, the resolution harmed Israel’s legitimacy.”
Although it would seem at this stage that the world at large is against Israel, not all those in Israel’s Foreign Service would agree with this assessment.
Aliza Ben Noun, Israel’s ambassador to France told The Jerusalem Post that Israel has far more support in France than would be surmised from media reports. Her colleague Talya Lador-Fresher, Israel’s ambassador to Austria, and once-deputy chief of mission at the Israel Embassy in the United Kingdom, said that the situation in Austria vis-à-vis antisemitic and anti-Israel incidents is not nearly as bad as in England.
While Foreign Ministry personnel complain that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who also holds the portfolio of Foreign Minister, is undermining the Foreign Ministry and is reducing its abilities and influence by apportioning some of its responsibilities to other ministries, Rivlin had nothing but praise for Israel’s diplomats.