November 24, 1998

"A State in the Making," a collection of photographs on the state of Israel opened Monday evening at the Organization of American States (OAS). Tracing Israel’s progress over the fifty years since the state was formed, the gallery of color and black-and-white photos feature landmark moments and events in each of the fifty years.

The OAS assistant secretary general, Ambassador Christopher R. Thomas, opened the one-week exhibition noting the solid relations between Israel and the member countries of the OAS, which itself was marking its 50th anniversary this year. Israel became an OAS observer country in 1972, one of the first four to be granted that status.

Ambassador Thomas also spoke of the contributions Israel has continued to make to OAS programs, including to the recent hurricane relief efforts for the devastated Central American countries and towards the fellowship programs that benefit Caribbean and Latin American citizens studying in a variety of fields. "The OAS greatly appreciates the concern and interest that the government of Israel has extended to our member states throughout the years," said the OAS deputy chief.

Meanwhile, Israel’s permanent observer, Ambassador Zalman Shoval, thanked the Organization for hosting the exhibition, as he detailed how the countries of the hemisphere had lent safe haven to Jews fleeing Nazi terrorism in Europe over half a century ago. He also spoke of the close ties his country had maintained with those of the Western Hemisphere, emphasizing the longstanding history of cooperation with many of the Latin American countries.