The National Assembly and the Embassy of the State of Israel co-organized a celebration of the 25th anniversary of renewed diplomatic relations between the Republic of Serbia and the State of Israel attended by MPs, representatives of the Serbian Government, churches and religious communities, as well as the diplomatic corps.
National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Israel Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic said he was very pleased that the National Assembly is taking part in the celebration of the anniversary, stressing that the two countries’ relations are characterized by friendship and respect, proven in some of the most difficult times in history. Marinkovic said that the Jewish and Serbian people’s shared awful fate and suffering in the Second World War only deepened their mutual understanding. We cannot let history repeat itself and Serbia will continue to cultivate its anti-fascist tradition, stressed Marinkovic. He went on to say that the two countries maintain a high level of political dialogue and should work on strengthening parliamentary cooperation as it is the cooperation between the elected representatives of the people. There is also room to improve economic, industrial and agricultural cooperation between the Republic of Serbia and the State of Israel, as well as cooperation in areas requiring a human touch which brings our two nations closer together such as tourism, culture, science, education and sport, concluded Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic.
Israeli Ambassador to Serbia H.E. Alona Fisher Kamm stressed that Serbia and Israel enjoy a fruitful political dialogue and good economic cooperation, and the contacts between the two societies are becoming ever deeper. She commended the work of the PFG with Israel on the improvement of bilateral relations between the two countries. She thanked the National Assembly on the unanimously adopted Law on remedying the consequences of the seizure of assets of Holocaust victims with no living legal heirs, stressing that it had achieved justice and dignity for all the victims of the Holocaust. The Israeli Ambassador reminded the attending that one of the most important people in Serbia and Israel’s shared history is Dr David Albala, Serbian patriot and fervent Zionist, and that Serbia was the first country in the world to recognize the Balfour Declaration, recognizing the right of Jews to self-determination in their historic homeland.
The assembly was attended by the granddaughter of Dr Albala, Rosie Gojich Stephenson-Goodnight who received an award from the Ambassador.
Serbian President’s envoy Nikola Selakovic said that the Serbian and Jewish people despite the many differences and geographical distance, are brought together by shared characteristics, especially their love of freedom and fight for it and its maintenance. The best examples of patriotism came from the Jewish people who lived in Serbia and shared its people’s fate, said Selakovic.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin addressed the assembly via a video message, thanking Serbia for the long years of friendship and the fact that it was the first country in the world to recognize the Balfour Declaration.
The "Baruch Brothers" choir performed the national anthems of the Republic of Serbia and the State of Israel, and the old Sephardic song “Mi kerido, mi amado”.