The Embassy of Israel in Accra over the weekend climaxed its 71st Independence Day celebration with a musical concert at the National Theatre in Accra.
Dubbed: ‘Strings of harmony; Celebrating six decades of Israel-Ghana Relations’, the concert was a collaboration between the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Ghana, the Pan African Youth Orchestra (PAYO) and the embassy.
Maetro Nir Brandan, an International performer and music conductor, performed alongside the NSO Ghana, led by Mr Isaac Annor and the PAYO directed by Mr Kwaku Kwakye at the event which also marked the commemoration of 60 years of Ghana-Israel relations.
Patrons at the event made up of high profile personalities in the country as well as students from some selected schools and people from all walks of life were treated to exhilarating tunes of classical music.
Opening the concert, the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Shani Cooper-Zubida said even though Israel’s formal relationship with Ghana may have started some six decades ago, the strings of harmony between the two nations had existed long ago.
According to her, Israel was the only country in the world that had a terrestrial passage to Africa, stressing that “The people of Israel crossed this passage to reach their homeland and a lot of the Israelis who currently live in Israel originated from Africa”.
Mrs Shani-Cooper noted that the people of Israel and the people of Ghana as well as Africa in general were brothers and sisters – family.
“Our formal relations may have started six decades ago, but the strings of harmony between the people, has existed for centuries and will exist forever,” she reiterated.
She said the opening of the Israeli Trade Mission in Ghana on their 60th year of relations could not be understated as it had already recorded success stories in the area of trade.
“Together with the trade mission, the Ghana-Israel Business Chamber promotes trade between the two countries, and I can say that there is a lot of interest from Israel companies in Ghana. Dozens of Israeli companies are already doing business in Ghana and investing in businesses and projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” she added.
The Ambassador said it was very fulfilling that Ghanaian and Israeli business people were seizing opportunities in areas such as agriculture, cyber security and health among others to bridge trade gaps, adding that “These are all geared at deepening economic relations with Ghana”.
She noted that the embassy recently celebrated the 2019 innovation day which involved organising workshops for start-ups, government officials and prominent Ghanaian business people.
On his part, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Robert Ahomka Lindsay, said Ghana and Israel had enjoyed a long standing relationship spanning a period of six decades.
He explained that Ghana was the first country to have had established formal diplomatic relations with the State of Israel at the ambassadorial level as far back as 1958.
“Indeed, the bonds of friendship between the two countries have grown steadily over the years and have been further strengthened by our shared commitments at both the bilateral and multilateral levels.
Mr Lindsay said through those commitments, the two countries had increasingly engaged in mutually-beneficial cooperation in the interest of their people, emphasising that “Within this context, Ghana has received various forms of assistance in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, education and health, among others”.
Furthermore, he said many qualified Ghanaians had benefitted from Israeli scholarships to expand their knowledge and skills in irrigation, renewable energy, post-harvest techniques and cultivation of arid lands among others.
He said Ghana had been following with keen interest and admiration, Israel’s positive strides in the field of science and technology, particularly, the technological achievements chalked in the field of cyber security, agriculture, water, health and ICT.
“Most importantly, we also stand in concert with the international community in the quest for sustainable peace and security in the Middle East and the rest of the world, so that the sacrifices of distinguished personalities like Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri would not be in vain,” he said.