Jerusalem, Israel - May 23, 2023 - President Isaac Herzog received the credentials of the new ambassadors of Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Uruguay, and Portugal, in a series of official ceremonies at Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem, Israel on Tuesday morning, May 23, 2023. 

The incoming ambassadors were welcomed by the IDF Orchestra playing their respective national anthems and they inspected an IDF honor guard before entering the Israeli President's Official Residence and presented their letters of credence to the President. During an audience with each ambassador, the President discussed various topics of history and economics. Each ambassador signed the guest book before leaving and walking the red carpet to the waiting limousine, At the end of each ceremony, the Israeli national anthem was played.

The first ambassador to present his letters of credence to the President was the incoming Ambassador of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. H.E. Menik Hitihamy Mudiyanselage Nimal Bandara. “The first visit of an Israeli president in Sri Lanka was made by my father, who met President Jayewardene in 1986,” said President Herzog. “My parents were very impressed with what they saw in Sri Lanka.”

Next to present her credentials was the incoming Ambassador of the Republic of Ecuador, H.E. Ms. Maria Concepción Barahona Páez. “We are so happy that you’re here. Ecuador is a close friend of Israel. We hosted President Lasso just last year. It was a great honor for us, and I believe it dramatically strengthened our relations. So, welcome!”

Following, the president received the credentials of Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala, H.E. Ava Atzum Arévalo de Moscoso, who, in her previous role, served as Deputy Foreign Minister of Guatemala. President Herzog welcomed her and said, “Welcome to Israel, Madam Ambassador. You represent one of the countries historically closest to Israel, from day one.” The incoming ambassador said: “We are celebrating 75 years of our diplomatic relations this year, and five years since our embassy moved to Jerusalem. Everyone in Guatemala loves Israel and it is an enormous privilege for me to represent my country here.”

Afterward, the Ambassador of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Tesfaye Anteneh presented his credentials to the president. The two discussed the importance of the relations between Ethiopia and Israel. “Mr. Ambassador, it is a great honor to receive your credentials,” said the president, especially given the close historic and sentimental ties between Israel and your country. We have an incredible Ethiopian community in Israel and are looking forward to strengthening our relationship as much as possible.”

The incoming ambassador added: “Ethiopia and Israel share long historic ties, which began with the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon 3,000 years ago. That is why the connection between our nations is so wonderful. I intend to focus on strengthening the bilateral ties between our nations during my time here. And I further came to study Israeli technology.”

After him, the Ambassador of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, H.E. Mr. Manuel Etchevarren Aguerre presented his credentials to the president, who said: “We are delighted that you are here. We view Uruguay as a very close friend of Israel, and as an incredible country that is always with us.” 

The ambassador thanked the president and said: “I think the ties with Israel are very important. Israel has been a friend of ours from the beginning and to this day.”

Finally, the Ambassador of the Portuguese Republic, H.E. Mr. Luís Filipe Ribeiro da Silva Barros presented his credentials. The president opened his remarks by noting that it was a great honor for him to welcome the ambassador. He added: “Your country is a great friend of ours and the relations with Portugal are special to us. Please convey my warmest regards to your president, who is a wonderful person and dear friend. I wish you a meaningful service in Israel.” The ambassador thanked the president for his kind words and for the warm reception. 

The President's wife Michal Herzog is fluent in Portuguese because she attended school in Brazil when her father was stationed in South America during her early teen years, but was not present for today's ceremonies.