Tel Aviv International Salon - Top Decision Makers Speaking With TLV Young Professionals

Ambassador Series

Also available in Deutsch

Through the Ambassador Series, KAS Israel has partnered with the Tel Aviv Salon to host young internationals from around the world to connect them with the leaders of the diplomatic corps in Israel. On January 9, 2018 at the Mindspace in Tel Aviv, KAS Israel and the Tel Aviv Salon hosted a discussion with the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yuval Rotem.

The Salon focused on presenting insights on themes such as the developments in Israel's foreign policy and challenges for the diplomatic community. Following a meet and greet, the discussion was formally opened by Dr. Alexander Brakel, Director at the KAS Office in Israel, and Jay Schultz, the founder of the Tel Aviv Salon. The moderator, KAS Project Manager, Eva Caro initiated the discussion by asking Yuval Rotem to illustrate the strategic foreign policy of Israel. Yuval Rotem did so by pointing out the diplomatic achievements of the previous years and by highlighting developing relations around the world. Rotem shared that within the last 5 years, Israel had improved relations with countries in South America, Africa, and in part Asia. Furthermore, he drew the audience's attention towards the changing, friendlier, international perception of Israel. Rotem explained that this was due to, amongst other factors, a change in foreign policy. Whereas the initial policies of Israel emphasized on agricultural products, today, high tech products and markets enable Israel greater, more positive international access and recognition.

The discussion inevitably progressed towards Israel's relationship with Europe and the gradual rise of various far-right parties (for example in Austria, Germany, or France) were taken under special consideration. Rotem showcased Europe as a key player in areas such as culture, politics and business, for Israel. Moreover, he addressed the importance of maintaining good relations, in spite of the political shift. However, Rotem made it very clear that Israel would not uphold contact with far-right parties and their representatives and all relations will be dealt with through direct government relations.

Subsequently, Israeli-Egyptian relations, which were normalized 40 years ago by the signing of a peace treaty, were discussed. Yuval Rotem underlined the immense importance of lasting peace between both countries, asserting that its preservation remains one of the main strongholds of Israeli foreign policy. After the Muslim Brotherhood took over power in Egypt, the peace treaty, was threatened. Albeit the tension and conflicts, the importance of maintaining peace grows.

The discussion continued with the current topic of the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement and its implications for Israel as well as the ministry's digital strategy. Rotem explained that the Foreign Office had abandoned its passive attitude towards the boycott movement and is now actively approaching the critics. The MFA directed a high budget for its newly created Digital-Department, which addresses many people across the world in many different languages. According to Rotem, about a quarter of them are users from the Arabic-speaking region. The MFA has recognized the signs of the times and adapted its Digital strategy accordingly. The discussion concluded with an open question and answer session, in which numerous curious people from the filled hall participated. Among other things, Israeli relations with the USA, Africa and China were addressed.

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Israel, January 10, 2018