UK ramat gan queen 248.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Over 800 people filled the lush green lawns of the Ramat Gan residence of British Ambassador to Israel Tom Phillips for last night's celebration in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's 83rd birthday.
Guests ranged from Knesset members such as Yoel Hasson and Yohannan Plessner of Kadima and Anastasia Michaeli of Israel Beiteinu, to senior Israeli businesspeople such as Dan and Gad Propper of Osem, Yael Kattan of British Airways, BMI Israel's CEO Sebastian Weinstein, journalists, academics, diplomats and top IDF brass.
In his speech, the Ambassador explained why the Queen has two birthdays: one in April and one in June. He clarified that it is not because she celebrates both her English and Hebrew birthdays, but rather because of the tradition dating back to 1748 to hold the annual Trooping of the Colour in June when you are far more likely to get a nice warm day in London. The Ambassador lamented the fact that though the Queen's birthday is a public holiday in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, "I have yet to convince the powers that be in Israel that it should also be a public holiday here." Turning to the Israeli guest of honour, Minister Yossi Peled, the Ambassador added "But perhaps this is something that the Minister would like to suggest?"
Ambassador Phillips also read out a special birthday greeting to the Queen from President Shimon Peres in which the President sent his, and the Israeli people's, "warmest wishes and sincere congratulations for Your Majesty's well-being."
Minister Peled gave the toast to the Queen, and remarked that in the early 1980s, he and his family had spent a year in the UK where he was enrolled at the Royal College of Defense Studies and that it had been one of the happiest years of their lives.
Guests were treated to Scottish smoked salmon specially flown out for the occasion by British Airways, a selection of traditional English cheeses and fish and chips while the Scottish whisky flowed freely. A photo display highlighted the year in UK-Israel relations, including Foreign Secretary David Miliband's visit to Israel, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's speech at the Knesset, and A Weekend with Pinter, a theatrical collaboration between the British Council and the Habima and Tmuna theatres paying tribute to one of the UK's greatest playwrights.
Among the sponsors of the event were top Israeli and British businesses such as British Airways, BMI, HSBC, Osem, Strauss, Keter and Wisotzky.