HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 570:29 June 2011

Israeli Ambassador impressed with Cook Islands

Stunning and a beautiful garden of Eden” was how Ambassador Shemi Tzur described his first experience to the Cook Islands after presenting his credentials to His Excellency the Queen’s Representative at Government House on Monday. He also paid courtesy calls on several Minister’s and Government officials including Minister of Tourism Teina Bishop where their discussions focused on both countries ability to attract more visitor numbers through tourism generated activities.
Israel attracts 3.6 million tourists per year compared to 100,000 to the Cook Islands. Both are very attractive destinations with Israel providing 3 key areas for tourism; the Holy Land, Skiing and Diving in the Red Sea.
Ambassador Tzur said that Israel’s economy is based on “innovation” and it’s success has been largely due to high technology and a culture that has been helped by that technology. Israel is believed to be a leading state in technological advancement in terms of water desalination and water purification, solar energy and technological research.
Israel has no water but it can grow beautiful plants and a variety of vegetables stated Ambassador Tzur. Israel is also renowned as a desert however half of that desert today is green thanks to technology. With a population base of approximately 8 million people, 5.5 are Jewish, 2 million Muslim and the rest Christian.
Although associated with the Holy Land and the Holocaust and the constant reminders as to how the Jews were treated during the second world war, Israel is still rebuilding and is very much regarded as a young state. The emphasis of its economy is based on education and defence and this is one of the major reasons why it stands out amongst other nations as a world leader in the technological fields.
In our schools and in the homes, education is not based around the use of toys but through the use of computers and technological equipment. We place a great deal of importance on encouraging our people to stay in country and it is our mission to “build a safe haven” for them as an incentive to remain and participate in the building of our nation.
He acknowledged that Israel sees the provision of good schools as a sound investment and makes no secret how proud the country is to have produced 8 Nobel Peace Prize winners over the years. We own one of 8 global satellites which is primarily used for education, research and defence purposes as well as distance education programs and all this is attributed to educating and continuously upskilling our people in this age of modern technology.
He jokingly quipped that the Dead Sea is now referred to as the “Sea of Money” because they sell everything from salts, cosmetics and fish products extracted from the Dead Sea. In addition, Israel also exports fruit and vegetables to Europe, watermelons, flowers, green peppers, tomatoes and computer parts to most global countries worldwide. It’s versatility alo extends to fishfarming and marine activities.
Another aspect is the introduction of communal health clinics where each clinic has its own doctors and nurses. This approach has shown vast improvements to healthcare services and communities are much better off for it says Ambassador Tzur.
All of this would not have been possible were it not for technology which initially originated for security purposes however as a developing state, this technology was used in a way to improve and better the way we live and the way we do things. Today, this knowledge is used by Israel to assist other developing nations and other friendly countries.
Ambassador Tzur also explained that Israel has a very good working relationship with other Pacific countries to which they are happy to share those ideas with in the name of peace and prosperity.
We acknowledge there are risks associated with our Tourism because of religious unrest and wars however, which country doesn’t have their own domestics. The big challenge says Ambassador Tzur is whether or not, the Cook Islands would be in a position to cope should its Tourism numbers increase to 200,000 tomorrow. No doubt, this would pose problems in terms of food security, our environment and waste management.
Commenting on the Cook Islands, he said it is such a beautiful country we should be proud of that gift which he says is from God. We are very, very lucky to be living in such a paradise and we must do everything we can to preserve and protect that natural beauty.
Overall, the Cook Islands has the “garden of Eden “ while Israel has “the Holy Land” and what a beautiful combination this makes for 2 countries steeped in religious belief and a desire for peace and prosperity for its people. Ambassador Tzur concluded by stating that Israel’s door will be open should the Cook Islands decide it wishes to discuss issues of mutual interest in the near future.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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