Speech by Jon Hanssen-Bauer
Ambassador of Norway
On the occasion on Norway’s National Day reception
16 May 2017
Dear Minister Yoav Gallant,
Dear Mayors and Deputy Mayors
Dear Consul Orni Izaksson and Irit,
Dear friends of Norway.
I thank you all for joining us in celebrating our national day.
Norway is proud of our long history of friendship and our deepening bilateral ties with Israel.
Now is an exceptional time for Norwegian culture here in Israel. The last months, we have enjoyed Norwegian movies, artists, musicians and performers, as well as theatre plays.
Dana Caspi was awarded a “Literature Prize for Excellence” for her translations in February. More than 50 Norwegian titles are now available in Hebrew. I just learned that next months, two additional new translations will be published.
The number includes two books by our former speaker of the Norwegian Parliament, the late Jo Benkow. He was the first Jewish Norwegian to hold such a high position.
The investments of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund in Israel are peaking at a value of almost 3 billion USD, with investments in bonds and in more than 80 companies. This makes Norway the fourth biggest public investor in Israel.
Our trade is growing rapidly, reaching a total of almost 300 million USD per year.
Norwegians discover Israel for its high tech and start-ups. Israelis adore our kosher and healthy salmon. We are happy to serve you some favourite dishes this evening!
Earlier this year, Israel and Norway signed a declaration of intent to further deepen our cooperation in research and innovation. Within the Horizon 2020, our researchers collaborate in over 30 projects and in 120 applications.
Our bilateral defence dialogue is also deepening.
Norway depends on the NATO’s assistance in safeguarding calm and stability up north. Our sovereignty stretches over ocean areas more than six times bigger than our territory.
Norway’s security requires stabilizing the complicated and dangerous neighbourhood on NATO’s southern flanks. Therefore, we contribute in this region, and we recognize Israel’s role.
Both Norway and Israel are vibrant democracies.
We cherish our freedom of speech as a core value of our democracies.
This often puts heavy demands on diplomats and journalists to understand in context, and to make sense of, political debates and decisions. Both ways.
I thank you for understanding that the Government and the leaders of the opposition in our Parliament strongly oppose a boycott of Israel, even if Norwegian trade unions support such ideas. Boycott of Israel will not become our policy.
Norway is and will remain a true friend of Israel.
The Jewish community is one of three recognized national minorities in Norway.
We mourn the loss of one-third of our Jewish community in the Shoa. Norway has apologized for the fact that Norwegian policemen, civil servants and other Norwegians took part.
We will not tolerate infringements on our Jewish community’s security, nor on the possibility to observe Jewish traditions in Norway. Last October, the Government presented 11 actions to combat antisemitism.
Norway takes note of the interest for renewing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
Norway is strongly committed to the two-state vision. We believe that the two peoples will solve the conflict and reach peace. We will continue our support.
Again, I thank you all for sharing the celebration of Norway’s constitution and of the long-lasting friendship between our two countries.
Please Minister Yoav Gallant, the floor is yours.
GREETINGS ON THE OCCASION OF
NORWAY'S CONSTITUTION DAY 2017
Minister Yoav Gallant – Minister of Construction and Housing
16 May 2017
Mr. Ambassador Jon Hanssen-Bauer and Mrs. Françoise Hanssen-Bauer
Distinguished Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Missions in Israel,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor and my pleasure to represent the Government and the people of Israel in congratulating King Harald the Fifth and Queen Sonia and the people of Norway on the occasion of Norway's 203rd Constitution Day.
I would like to take advantage of this occasion to wish both the King and Queen special congratulations on having celebrated their 80th birthdays this year. עד 120
Israel greatly appreciates Norway's contribution to the struggle against international antisemitism. The Norwegian government's clear stand against the BDS movement is extremely important for Israel. We honor these efforts.
The relationship between Norway and Israel is strong and has great potential to further deepen and develop in a wide variety of areas.
As an additional expression of the good relations shared between the two countries, Israel will soon add Norway to the "Open Skies" Agreement between itself and the E.U. It will not only facilitate direct routes between the two countries, it will also boost tourism and business.
In light of Norway's high level of proficiency in the area of energy and Israel's own proficiency in the area of advanced technologies in this field, we see positive potential for cooperation with Norway in regard to research and development and energy.
Before I conclude, I would like to express my appreciation to Ambassador Jon Hanssen-Bauer and his wife Françoise and the entire staff of the Norwegian Embassy in Israel. The Embassy, led by its Ambassador, is making very important contributions to the expansion and strengthening of the relations between our two countries.
Your Excellency, please convey the best wishes of the Government and the people of Israel to the King, the Queen and the people of Norway on your Constitution Day. We wish you peace, stability, security and prosperity and successful elections in September.