October 16, 2019

A farewell to H.E. Aviv Shir-On, Israel’s Ambassador to the Netherlands

Madam Birgitta Tazelaar, Deputy Director-General International Cooperation at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Aviv Shir-On.

By Guido Lanfranchi.

The diplomatic community of the Netherlands said goodbye to H.E. Aviv Shir-On, Israel’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, praising his work in strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. In a crowded ceremony, Ambassador Shir-On thanked all his colleagues and collaborators for their support to his work.

It has been three years since H.E. Aviv Shir-On has been Ambassador of Israel to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, three years in which the Ambassador has worked to deepen the already well-established ties between these two countries.

As his retirement time approached, Diplomat Magazine organized a farewell ceremony, in which Ambassador Shir-On was awarded with a certificate of merit for his precious work and his contributions to the diplomatic corps active in the Netherlands. The ceremony was attended by many Ambassadors and diplomats, as well as by Dutch authorities and members of the civil society.

H.E. Mrs. Brândușa Predescu, Ambassador of Romania and the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Aviv Shir-On.

The ceremony served as an occasion to praise the work done by Ambassador Shir-On over the past three years. H.E. András Kocsis, Ambassador of Hungary in the Netherlands, took the word during the gathering in order to express his words of gratitude to his colleague and friend.

After having underlined the Hungarian roots of Ambassador Shir-On, Ambassador Kocsis praised him for his “spectacular career in the Israeli foreign service”, as well as for his dedication in bringing Israel and the Netherlands together through a number of not only political, but also cultural activities.

Besides work-related aspects, Ambassador Kocsis thanked his colleague for their personal relation. “Aviv, I have cherished our friendship very much” – Mr. Kocsis said, underlining Ambassador Shir-On’s sincere commitment to their personal ties, and wishing him the best for his future plans.

Ambassador Shir-On with ambassadors and friends after his Ceremony of Merit.

The words of Ambassador Kocsis were echoed by those of Ms. Birgitta Tazelaar, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation at the Dutch Foreign Ministry, and former Director of the Middle East and North Africa department.

Speaking on behalf of Minister Sigrid Kaag, Ms. Tazelaar praised Ambassador Shir-On’s “unwavering dedication and enthusiasm”, and his “very hard work to deepen the relations and friendship between the two countries.”

Ms. Tazelaar also thanked the parting Ambassador for his engagement with the Dutch society, as well as for his role in putting on the agenda key issues like the rise of antisemitism, which she defined as an “unacceptable” development in Europe. 

Mr. Boris Zhilko, Minister Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation, H.E. Mr. Agustin Vazquez Gomez, Ambassador of El Salvador, H.E. Mr. Tigran Balayan, Ambassador of Armenia, H.E. Ms. Andrea Gustovic-Ercegovac, Ambassador of Croatia, Ambassador Shir-On, H.E. Mr. Andras Kocsis, Ambassador of Hungary and H.E. Ms. Annika Markovic, Ambassador of Sweden.

Finally, addressing the large audience, Ambassador Shir-On thanked all the participants for their presence and support. He went back on his experience as an Israeli soldier, fighting on the Golan Heights during the Yom-Kippur War in 1973. After such an experience – the Ambassador said – it was all the more rewarding to be able to achieve peace as an Israeli diplomat.

Now, after a long career, Israel’s law provides for retirement. Yet, the Ambassador expressed very clearly his intention not to stay idle: “I am not the type that would sit back and do nothing. It is nice for three months, but then what?” – he said. Finally, Ambassador Shir-On delivered his key message: regardless of any personal talent or quality, the work of a diplomat always depends on the people that surrounds him. Hence, the Ambassador repeatedly thanked all his colleagues and collaborators for their great contribution to his work: “without you, all what was said about me would not be possible”. 

Ambassador Shir-On concluded by thanking Diplomat Magazine and the Hotel Crowne Plaza for organizing the ceremony, and he invited all the presents to visit Israel – a trip for which he pledged to give some good advice. After the speech, the guests in the room remained to enjoy some talks among each other, and especially with Ambassador Shir-On. 

Using the works of Ambassador Kocsis: “Aviv, you will be missed”.

Diplomat Magazine thanks Diplomatic Card for their valuable and constant support making this kind of events possible.

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