At a 7am breakfast briefing this morning in Christchurch (22/2) with the Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand, H.E. Yosef Livine. Very interesting. Some of his comments (paraphrased in quote marks as I recall them):
a) “NZ & Israel only trade $200 million a year, miniscule.”
b) “If Jerusalem was not at first holy to Jews, it would not have been holy to Muslims” (and my words) thousands of years later as Islam was constructed by Mohammed from Judaism and Christianity. Valid point.
c) “Hisbollah is fightin ISIS (Mr Livine referred to them as ISIS not IS or ISIL) but is using this conflict to increase its fields of influence, particularly on the Golan, with an object to surround northern israel. Hizbollah fighting ISIS does not make them the good guys.”
d) “Iran, with its new president, has created a cartoon competition supported by cultural groups to lampoon and deny the Jewish Holocaust. The competition will be judged with cash prizes, on April 1st, because in the West, this is the day of lies and fooling.” Official Holocaust denial and activism at state level, despite a new president and somewhat hypocritical re the recent murders of western cartoonists for drawing Mohammed.
e) “Iran has enough oil to meet its energy needs, it is a pillar of OPEC. Why does it need nuclear power?” A ruse?
f) To a Q. re some Knesset politicians advocating changes to the administration of the Temple Mount, the Ambassador said he was unaware of that, and suggested it was perhaps related to the Israel elections (in three weeks time) and politicians saying all sorts of things.
g) To another Q., he placed no significance he was aware of, to the tetrad moon eclipses coinciding with ancient Jewish festivals.