Greeting from the Ambassador
Thank you for your warm welcome to Israel. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I take up my position as Ambassador of Finland to Israel at this very difficult time.
Life in Israel has changed dramatically in the last few weeks. The brutal terrorist attack by Hamas on 7 October killed and wounded many. Many also disappeared or were taken hostage, among those both small children and elderly persons. No words can truly describe the pain and sorrow, but many of us feel great sympathy to all in mourning and fear. I want to express my sincere condolences to those who have lost family or friends.
Meeting recently with families of persons who have disappeared or been taken hostage was deeply touching. Humanitarian law must be upheld, it is our common institution for justice in the face of violence and terror in war and conflict. Therefore, the hostages must be released immediately and unconditionally. And, of course, the humanitarian needs of civilians in Gaza must also be fully respected.
The Embassy of Finland now continues to keenly follow the political and military situation in Israel and in the region. We also continue providing customer service in consular matters. Already during the first week after the attack, the Embassy together with the crisis team of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki made efforts to assist our citizens, mostly tourists, who needed help to leave the country.
On October 24, I was honored to present my credentials to the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem. As Ambassador of Finland to Israel and the first Ambassador of my country since our joining NATO earlier this year, I am pleased to continue work that supports our excellent bilateral relationship.
Cooperation in innovation, startups and defense materiel purchases are notable as both our countries are forerunners in technology. In the cultural sector, cooperation takes place in the fields of education, music, architecture, and much more. For Finns, Israel has been an attractive travel destination for a long time. While Israeli travelers have discovered the beautiful winter in Lapland, our North, we also want to introduce them to the fresh Finnish summer and clean environment. Our sustainable, well-functioning and open, democratic society, which stresses equality and education, is always interesting for investors as well. I hope that we can soon return to working on these and other forward-looking topics.
I want to take this opportunity to wish all Israeli friends strength in difficult times.
Ambassador Dr Nina Nordström