Israeli Envoy Toasts Nation’s Independence amid Terror Attacks
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Israeli Ambassador to Mexico Zvi Tal and his wife Irit Tal hosted a reception at the Jewish Sports Center on Friday, May 6, to mark the anniversary of their nation’s independence, proclaimed by Ben Gurion in 1948.
“Israel has always been the cradle of the Jewish people,” Tal told his guests, who included, for the first time ever, diplomatic representatives from both Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“The week that begins with the Shoah (Holocaust) Remembrance Day and culminates in Yom ha’Atzmaut — our independence day — is undoubtedly the most intense, emotional and historic in the Jewish and Israeli calendar.”
Tal went on to say that the week “is a constant reminder of the unbearable price the Jewish people paid for not having a sovereign national homeland in the 1930s and 1940s.”
“Statistically speaking,” he added, “77 years after the end of World War II, the number of Jews in the world today has not yet reached the number of Jews on the eve of that war.”
The ambassador also pointed out that “despite encouraging progress in the process of normalizing our relations with the Arab World — and perhaps because of it — the dark forces that strive to annihilate us, be they state actors or terrorist organizations, are actively at work.”
In recent weeks, there has been a string of terrorist episodes, including deadly attacks inside Israel.
On Thursday, May 5, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel was “entering a new stage in the war on terror.”
At least 18 Israelis were killed in five attacks since March, including a stabbing rampage in southern Israel, two shootings in Tel Aviv and a shooting in a West Bank settlement.
“In this context, I would like to emphasize that the distorted ideology that is driving these destructive forces has been primarily focused on Israel, but is actually directed at all liberal and democratic regimes in the world,” Tal said.
Tal alo said that Israel’s founding values — freedom, justice and peace — are still its guiding principles today.
“On this festive day of our independence, let us rejoice in the achievements of these past 74 years and be proud of Israel’s contribution to humanity, in its commitment to work hand-in-hand with the concert of nations in promoting sustainability and the fight against climate change, as well as in its constant search for peace and coexistence,” he said.
Tal also spoke about Israel’s bilateral relations with Mexico.
“In less than two months, on July 1, we will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations between our countries,” he said.
“Mexico is one of the main suppliers of crude oil to Israel, and was on our side during the Arab boycott of the 1970s that sanctioned the supply of oil to our country.”
Thanks to a bilateral free trade agreement implemented in 2000, Tal said that combined two-way trade now surpasses $1 billion annually.
He also spoke of the 45,000-member-strong Jewish community in Mexico, which has not only helped to foster bilateral relations and understanding, but has contributed substantially to the Mexican economy.
“The strong ties that bind Mexican Jews to Mexico, the country that welcomed their ancestors with open arms, and their unwavering solidarity with Israel is a golden asset for all of us at the embassy, for which we are deeply grateful,” he said.