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National Day  14 May

Her Excellency Mrs Tzipi Hotovely
Embassy of Israel
2 Palace Green
W8 4QB

“PUBLIC SERVICE WAS always a part of my family,” explains Israel’s eighteenth Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, Her Excellency Mrs Tzipi Hotovely. A qualified lawyer, she was elected to Israel’s parliament in 2009, where she chaired the Women and Gender Equality Committee, and then served in the Foreign Ministry. “The role of Ambassador is a continuation of this path and I am fortunate to be appointed [the first female] Ambassador to the UK, one of the top positions.”

The Ambassador arrived last October with her husband and their three daughters. “The pandemic has been difficult for diplomats across the world as our job is to meet people, build personal relationships and attend events, but much of this has been reduced to Zoom. I look forward to meeting people in person.”   Israel’s government, like many across the world, has faced numerous challenges during the pandemic. “The government offered support to those who needed it most,” she explains. “It fills me with pride to see… the incredible results from the success of our vaccination programme. This also helped us in the Embassy, as we were able to fly our diplomatic staff back to Israel to get vaccinated earlier in the year.”

The Ambassador continues: “During a health crisis the solutions are global and public health has become a major component of our cooperation between countries. Since the start, we cooperated closely with the UK, from developing strategies to cope with the pandemic, procurements of medical equipment, and sharing experiences from both of our countries’ vaccination successes.”

Ahead of Ambassador Hotovely’s posting to the UK, she served five years as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. One of her key roles was to promote Israel’s innovative economy across the world. “I worked to forge greater cooperation and new alliances and found an incredible amount of interest in the Israeli success story as the ‘Start-Up Nation.’ Tel Aviv is one of the leading cities for innovation, with more start-ups per capita than anywhere else in the world. Today, economies are based on the ability to innovate constantly, and Israel is at the cutting edge of this.”

Ambassador Hotovely has been delighted to observe that “Relations between the UK and Israel are the strongest they have ever been and continue to grow. Annual trade has grown year-on-year for over a decade. Both of our governments are proud of the friendship we hold, and our cooperation in education, R&D, tech, business and security is as strong as ever. It is my priority to see this continue to grow.

“As a young woman working in politics, I want to reach out to the UK’s youth, and promote the progression of women across society, something I have worked on in Israel throughout my career.

“In light of Brexit, I focus on the economic partnership between our countries. I predict that there will be many more opportunities for growth. With the UK pursuing its Global Britain initiative, there will undoubtedly be numerous new opportunities for our relationship to expand. I predict that the friendship that our nations have will continue to grow long into the future.

“I was quick to learn that London is a hub of relationship-building and cooperation and I have made this one of my priorities. Last year’s Abraham Accords has offered new opportunities to make connections with my counterparts from Arab states based in London, and it has been a great experience making these new friendships. I wish to see relations between Israelis and Arabs in London continue to grow.”

Of the COP26 summit, Ambassador Hotovely says, “Israel will be there to make its mark. Israel’s strength in innovation will help tackle climate change, and we hope to share our technologies with the world. Israel boasts innovations such as solutions for renewable energy storage, drought-resistant crops and animal protein substitutes to reduce the impact of livestock on the climate and natural environment. With much of Israel being desert, we can share our considerable expertise in conservation of green spaces, as well as reforestation, particularly in arid climates. Our technologies for preventing water loss and desalination can also help countries to overcome the challenges of climate change.”

Israel’s greatest diplomatic challenge “is Iran,” she notes, “which poses an existential threat, not only to our region but to the entire world. Iran is controlled by a radical regime that is committed to Israel’s destruction and wishes to obtain nuclear weapons. This means that we must work with our allies to ensure one another’s protection and the safety of our citizens.”

With such an exceptional career, Ambassador Hotovely considers her most memorable day: “Undoubtedly, the day I was sworn in as a member of the Israeli Parliament. Seeing my parents’ pride at my representing the people of a country that they had dreamt so long of coming to whilst living behind the Iron Curtain filled me with joy.”


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