The British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould and his wife Celia hosted 1000 guests at the Ariel Sharon Park Recycling Mountain on Thursday 30 April in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 89th birthday.
This year’s theme highlighted the booming UK- Israel collaboration in technology, with a showcase of Israeli innovation that is partnering with the UK.
Among the guests enjoying the traditional British food and music, were Interior Minister Gilad Erdan - who addressed the guests, Members of the Knesset, foreign ambassadors and leading CEOs and executives from the business world.
This year’s Queen’s Birthday Party was particularly poignant as the Goulds will leave Israel in the summer.
In his address Ambassador Matthew Gould said:
This is a bittersweet occasion for us. We have been here almost five years. We have made many friends, accumulated many happy memories. It has been a huge honour to be the first Jewish Ambassador from Britain, the country that gave my grandfather refuge, to Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people. Israel is a wonderful, unique posting for diplomats. Israel packs in more politics, innovation, history, controversy, nature and beauty to each square kilometre than anywhere else I know.
Ambassador Gould also paid tribute to the UK-Israel relationship:
It has been an honour to build and guard the friendship between our countries. Britain is a friend of Israel. We oppose attempts to delegitimize or boycott Israel or to deny Israel its right to defend itself. We have a strong economic partnership. In the past few years, trade has grown sharply with Israeli companies investing in Britain and British companies investing in Israel. Dozens of scientific partnerships have been established with scholarships and fellowships established for Israelis to study and research in the UK. British companies have forged alliances with Israeli innovation in a partnership that is hugely to the benefit of both sides with Israeli tech entrepreneurs finding they can take their innovation global through partnerships with Britain and British companies finding that Israeli innovation can give them a global edge.
Ambassador Gould in a final toast said:
Thank you to all of you, our friends, who have made our posting here so special. You have shown us warmth, and kindness, and great hospitality. We know we will take with us many memories, and also many friendships that will not end when we fly back to London. And so it gives me great pleasure, and some sadness, to propose the toast for the last time – to the President and State of Israel.