DIPLOMACY

Ambassador Tamar Samash: To us it is important to invite the Romanian government’s leaders to Israel. On President-Government rift regarding the embassy relocation to Jerusalem: I am sorry, I hope that it will settle down

The Israeli Ambassador in Bucharest, Tamar Samash, stated in an interview granted to AGERPRES that her country regrets the rift between the President and Government happened regarding the moving of the Romanian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but hopes the situation will settle down.

“I am really sorry about it, because it is an internal Romanian problematic, and we didn’t intend for that subject to create such a turmoil. We expect that things to calm down because we have very good relations between Romania and Israel, we are celebrating our 70-year anniversary, and for 70 years there have been relations between Romania and Israel, always good. It wasn’t important who was the Government, it was always in good relations. I’m sorry that that rift between the President and the Government came on our account. I am sorry, and I hope that it will settle down,” said the Israeli Ambassador.

The Israeli diplomat spoke, in the interview for AGERPRES, also about the need for the cooperation potential between Romania and Israel to be fulfilled, in all domains.

“We have an economic attache here, that is doing extraordinary work, but who is really frustrated because we have such a potential of cooperation in the field of economy, water, agriculture, energy, all these fields they are here, and the results are not what they should be. The potential is not achieved, so that’s one of the things that we discussed,” the Israeli diplomat emphasized.

 

Your Excellency, the interview is taking place a few days after the President of the Chamber of Deputies announced that Romania will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but the discourse around this specific question is kind of complicated in Romania.

 

First of all, the decision was taken by the Prime Minister and Mr. Dragnea to check the technical possibilities of moving the embassy like the Americans did, and to decide, if and when to move the embassy. There was no definitive decision to move the embassy. There is a will and we hope that it will happen sometime. The discourse that started here in Romania didn’t take into consideration the fact that it’s not final. We all hope that it will be final, but the reactions were a little bit disturbing, because in fact, moving the embassy, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is the most natural thing that can happen. For 70 years now, others have decided to tell us where their embassy and our capital is. There is no other place in the world where others decide for you where your capital is, especially since Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other state. The only time it was a capital was more than 2,000 years ago, when King David and King Solomon decided to have the capital there. Since then there have been the Romans, the Greeks, the Muslims, the Crusaders, the British, and the Jordanians, and they never held Jerusalem as a capital. And for the Jewish people, Jerusalem was always in the center of life, it was always considered as their capital, so it is the most natural thing, especially since the all the Ministries are in Jerusalem, the Hebrew University is in Jerusalem, and when ambassadors have to do something with the Government, they come to Jerusalem, and when the ambassadors present their credentials to the President of the state, they come to Jerusalem, so de facto, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Legally, it should be accepted by the rest of the world, but sometimes you do what you have to do and not what others tell you to do.

 

The Romanian announcement came in the context in which Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that the first world countries that will establish their capitals in Jerusalem would benefit from certain facilities. What does that mean? It could mean providing a building…

 

Providing a building, helping to refurbish, but that’s not the most important part, that’s technical, but they will have their place in history, like being the one that had the courage to do that step and, eventually, the others will follow, but the first ones are going to be the ones that will be recognized as those that acknowledge the real sense of history.

 

Yesterday, at a TV station, there was this letter, signed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, which was inviting the President of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea to Israel.

 

He’s going, and so is the Prime Minister. They’ve been invited to come to Israel, to meet with Netanyahu, and they are going. There are very good relations between Romania and Israel, all the time. And as… I’ll be a little blunt, as the Government in Romania is changing, quite often – am I politically correct?  -everytime there is some change in the Government it is important for us to have the leaders of the Romanian Government come to Israel, so now it’s Mr. Dragnea and Mrs. Dancila that are coming to Israel, and we hope that we will have not only good meetings, but fruitful meetings, developing more fields in which we can cooperate.

 

Could you give a few more details about this? What are the targets of this official visit?

 

Jerusalem issue, that goes without saying, but much more developing economical relations, cyber-security cooperation, agricultural contracts, things like that, and also the domain of culture, which is very important, because there are about 400.000 Israelis that came from Romania, or speak Romanian, so having Romanian literature in Israel, having theater in Romanian in Israel is important for us, and for us it is very important in the domain of culture to show to the Romanian public what we have to show, and what we have in common, because in fact we have so much values and ideas in common: films, theater, music, dance, these are the things that we would like to have the public.

 

In 2014, Israel and Romania signed an agreement regarding the Romanian workers that work in Israel. Does this show the continuation of this particular link regarding Romanian workers?

 

Romanian workers are considered to be very good professionals, and as they are very good professionals, they are demanded, they are wanted in other places too, and I understand that for Romanians it is easier to go and work in European countries rather than in Israel, so there aren’t that many workers that are coming to Israel now. We hope that they will work and continue to come to Israel. It is a link between the Romanian society and I know many workers that were in Israel, and sometimes even speak Hebrew, and that are very close to Israel, and have done an extraordinary job. We have shortage of housing in Israel, and Romanian builders, workers, are quite demanded.

 

 

Going back to the visit that Prime Minister Dancila will make, and also Mr. Dragnea. This is coming in a moment when there is a rift between the Presidency and the Government regarding this specific issue of the embassy moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

 

I am really sorry about it, because it is an internal Romanian problematic, and we didn’t intend for that subject to create such a turmoil. We expect that things to calm down because we have very good relations between Romania and Israel, we are celebrating our 70-year anniversary, and for 70 years there have been relations between Romania and Israel, always good. It wasn’t important who was the Government, it was always in good relations. I’m sorry that that rift between the President and the Government came on our account. I am sorry, and I hope that it will settle down.

 

Because in Romanian law, the President is also the chief of diplomacy.

 

I guess the Government knew that.

 

Yes. Also, on the matter shown yesterday, on TV, Prime Minister Netanyahu was mentioning the fact that Romania voted to abstain in the vote regarding Jerusalem in the Security Council, so Israel actually reads the vote of abstention as…

 

As a friendly gesture, as a courageous gesture, because most of the countries – three quarters of the countries in the UN voted against the United States’ decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem, that was the subject, and Romania abstained, and that proved that Romania understands that that gesture is normal and maybe Romania think it’s not exactly the right time, but it didn’t vote against it.

 

I hope I’m not wrong. The US ambassador actually had a speech after the vote and said that the US will not forget who voted what.

 

Yes, that’s what they said.

 

Is this the way Israel thinks as well?

 

We will not forget, we will also not forget who was standing with the US to say that transferring the embassy to Jerusalem is something natural.

(Excerpts from the interview granted to Agerpres)

 

 

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