Despite his legal predicament and calls for his resignation - or, at the least, temporary suspension - President Moshe Katsav on Wednesday put on a brave face as he greeted members of the diplomatic corps who had come to Beit Hanassi to wish him and the nation well for Rosh Hashana.
Heads and deputy heads of some 80 foreign missions arrived to meet a smiling Katsav and his wife Gila in what has long been an annual ritual.
Before raising his glass to toast the New Year, Katsav called on the international community to strengthen its demand that the Red Cross be allowed to visit Israel's three abducted soldiers, so that it could report to their families.
Thailand's Ambassador Kasivat Paruggamanont was the focus of media attention, but could not say much more than the fact that there had been a coup d'etat the previous evening. He had not yet received any instructions from his country's Foreign Ministry, he said.
Among the other ambassadors were three who have yet to present their credentials in a ceremony scheduled for October 18: Australian Ambassador James Larsen, Canadian Ambassador Jon Allen and Japanese Ambassador Yoshinori Katori.
While there was still some dispute at government level as to whether approval would be given for Katsav to travel to Ukraine on Tuesday, as head of the Israeli delegation to the 65th anniversary commemoration of the massacre at Babi Yar, Beit Hanassi and Foreign Ministry staff continued to liaise on the preparations.
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