Yossef Levy: Bye, Bye Serbia!

I promise that in each place I will be posted to I will continue to carry with me the memories of the great people I knew here and continue to cherish beautiful moments I had in this country, writes in his farewell passionate message Ambassador Yossi, who spent here five great years

Josef Levi_18

Those were for sure the best five years of my life. Belgrade is a city that you easily fall in love with. Many foreigners speak about the special magic of Belgrade which is perhaps not the most beautiful city in Europe but still succeeds to overwhelm you with its human dimension. As a diplomat I felt that I touched a certain ceiling. After their departure from Belgrade, the Israeli Ambassadors before me have always complained that they cannot find anything that could compare to the Serbian capital.  In a mysterious way I’ve started to understand what they meant. As a writer, I am sure that the endless moments I had here will be adapted and transformed in years to come into a new novel, my Belgrade love affair, a collage of cafes and friends, sweet secrets, great food as well as the everlasting political dilemmas. Belgrade is always standing on a historical crossroads and each year seems to be more dramatic than ever before. Israel is the same. That’s why I feel here so much at home.

For five years I was afraid that Serbian magic will finally come to an end. And it does. It is time to pack and say bye, bye. I apologize for using this stage to express my personal thoughts, but I would like to thank this great country for being a second home for myself and my family. I truly believe in the Serbian potentials and human values. Great individuals must, in the end of the day, create a great collective. There is absolutely no reason that such powerful, immense and creative nation will not be able to create an impressive and sophisticated modern economy based on wisdom, innovation and human spirit. People, my friends, are the biggest asset of Serbia. Not a burden, but a real treasure of this country. The biggest challenge of our beloved Serbia is demography.

The Serbian population is shrinking rapidly. In short – there is not enough babies. Someone told me that with each population census Serbia is losing a town in the size of Arandjelovac. Isn’t it a real disaster? The remaining are getting older, while many young and educated are standing in queues in front of foreign embassies to get visa and leave. As a friend I can tell you that this is the most depressing human landscape and it makes me sad. Rich countries are benefiting from the flow of amazing young Serbian women and men who are looking for a better tomorrow. I pray and hope that in the coming years we will see the opposite scenes: Serbian expats will come back and rebuild life here at home.

I leave Serbia with a great admiration for human generosity I found here. I promise that in each place I will be posted to I will continue to carry with me the memories of the great people I knew here and continue to cherish beautiful moments I had in this country. If you push me to the wall and force me to mention not only the good things but also the bad phenomenon I saw here, well – hajde. I don’t like the passive approach of some people, including some of my friends, towards the challenges of life, the Dorcolian mega philosophy of endless sitting in a café and complaining why and why and why, the unbearable clouds of cigarettes and smoke in public places and wild driving habits on the roads (drivers simply ignore passengers who try to cross the zebra line). In spite of those I do truly believe that Serbia is still a fantastic place to live and to visit. I promise myself to come back at first opportunity, this time as an ordinary visitor. I hope that some will still remember me, one strange Ambassador Yossi, who spent here five great years.

Dovidjenja Beograde!

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