President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca held bilateral talks with her Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin at the Presidential Palace in Jerusalem.

Both presidents spoke of the potential to transform Malta and Israel’s excellent bilateral relations into tangible collaborations, where both countries could collaborate in various sectors including commercial, cultural and tourism.

“We need to engage on as many levels as possible, even through our institutions, and even at civil society level”, President Coleiro Preca said, adding that following a meeting which was held with the Malki Foundation, which empowered people with disability, it was agreed that a collaboration with Malta would be looked into in the near future.

The President said that such connections would definitely lead to sustainable friendships between the two peoples, “and when one establishes friendship, then the issue of respect comes second to nature”. The President said that if there was respect, then there was much more room for positive peace.

President Coleiro Preca also said that the relationship between the peoples of Malta and Israel was built upon a shared Mediterranean identity adding that “as nations from this important region of the world, we must be the guardians of hope and promoters of human rights, for the benefit of both present and future generations”.

During her official visit to Israel, the President had a number of other meetings and discussed possibilities of collaboration within the aviation industry.

She participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Center in Jerusalem, laying a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance.

The wreath was laid on a stone slab under which the ashes of the Holocaust victims from the six extermination camps are buried.

President Coleiro Preca said that the acknowledgement of the suffering which the Holocaust represented had to be translated into a firm commitment to promote and to prioritise the dignity and the wellbeing of all people who were experiencing precarity, vulnerability, discrimination and abuse.

At present, Yad Vashem has two Memoranda of Understanding in place with the Ministry for Education and Employment and with the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society.

Through the MoU with the President’s Foundation, Yad Vashem representatives visit Malta every January to participate actively in the activities organised by the Foundation on the occasion of World Holocaust Remembrance Day, which also include school visits.

The President also met the Maltese community in the Holy Land.

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