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King and Queen of Spain welcome President of Israel on a state visit

Their Majesties King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain welcomed the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama Rivlin on Monday, 6 November to the Royal Palace of Madrid on an official two-day state visit.

Upon their arrival at the Royal Palace of Madrid, both the Spanish and Israeli national anthems were played with a 21-gun salute following afterwards. The King and President then reviewed the battalion of the Royal Guard.

The group next moved to La Zarzuela Palace, the residence of Their Majesties and their daughters, where lunch was served. A meeting with both the Spanish and Israeli delegations alongside King Felipe and President Rivlin took place later in the afternoon.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey

Their Majesties hosted a state dinner at the Royal Palace of Madrid in honour of their guests in the evening. The King spoke during the dinner, beginning in Hebrew before transferring to Spanish. In his remarks, he stressed, “We know that great designs are accompanied by great challenges, we know Israel’s legitimate aspirations for peace and security, and we hope that your country will harmoniously coexist with its neighbours and develop its ties with the European Union. In Spain, you will find Israel a partner, an ally, a loyal and committed friend.”

His Majesty also emphasised, “Our democratic Spain, which integrates the heritage of diversity, today vindicates its historical ties with the Jewish people.”

Continuing, King Felipe said, “We firmly believe that both aspirations – peace and security – will only be achieved if the legitimate demands of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in two states in peace and security with internationally recognised borders are met.”

Their Majesties attend a reception hosted by President and Mrs Rivlin at the Royal Palace of El Pardo on Tuesday. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

President Rivlin and his wife returned the favour on Tuesday night hosting a reception in honour of the King and Queen at the Royal Palace of El Pardo. The leading Spanish and Israeli authorities were also in attendance. The Andalusian Orchestra of Israel performed interpretations of “Jerusalem de Oro” and “Morenica” in the Bourbon courtyard.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia presented President and Mrs Rivlin with a photo album to be “a memory of the visit to Spain,” according to Casa Real.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries began in 1986. The first state visit by an Israeli head of state to Spain was in 1992, and the next year, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía travelled to Israel on a state visit. While serving as the Prince and Princess of Asturias, Felipe and Letizia also made a trip to Israel on a journey that also included Palestine and Jordan in 2011.

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