‘Jerusalem of Gold’ follows Peres to Vietnam

President hears a group of female Vietnamese vocalists sing the classic Israeli song on state visit.

President Shimon Peres in Vietnam 311 (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
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.
When 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 him.
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.
At the 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 reciprocal visit.
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 in Vietnam.
Israeli dairy farm experts have a tremendous market in Vietnam where powdered milk is the norm and fresh milk is a rarity.
The president returns from Vietnam on Sunday.