Saturday 17 August 2019

President wastes no time in welcoming new Israeli ambassador following row

President Michael D Higgins wasted no time in welcoming Israel’s new ambassador to Ireland
President Michael D Higgins wasted no time in welcoming Israel’s new ambassador to Ireland
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

President Michael D Higgins has wasted no time welcoming Israel's new ambassador to Ireland after a diplomatic spat marked his predecessor's departure.

he is a native of a kibbutz’

Ambassador Ze'ev Boker formally presented his credentials to Mr Higgins, along with new ambassadors from Cyprus and Greece.

The ambassadors were brought to and from Áras an Uachtaráin by an Escort of Honour consisting of a motorcycle detachment drawn from the 2nd Cavalry Squadron at Cathal Brugha Barracks.

It signalled a warming of relations after a row between the former Israeli ambassador Boaz Modai, who had claimed that Mr Higgins's officials failed to organise a customary farewell meeting before he left Ireland in August.

A last-minute invitation was extended for Mr Modai to attend Áras an Uachtaráin after the row was reported in the Irish Independent. The President's office said they had not received notice his term in Ireland had ended.

His successor, Ze'ev Boker (57), was accompanied to yesterday's meeting by his wife Tali and the Minister-Counsellor at the Israeli Embassy, Simha Amitai.

He is a native of a kibbutz and previously worked as a diplomat in Prague, the Netherlands and most recently the Slovak Republic.

The father of three told the Irish Independent that Israel has not always experienced "a balanced and fair perspective from Europe, including Ireland" but his job was to help "narrow differences and create greater understanding on both sides".

"I consider that my mission as Ambassador is to strengthen the links between Ireland and Israel in political, economic, educational and cultural spheres," he told the Irish Independent.

"Israel and Ireland share many parallels. Ireland fought a long struggle for independence, as did the Jewish people. Like Ireland, the Jewish people have a worldwide diaspora."

He added that both countries "have an ancient heritage but a modern outlook".

"Jewish people are often called People of the Book, just like Ireland is often remembered as the Land of Saints and Scholars."

Irish Independent

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