Honorary Consul attended Israel with an official visit
Oleg Vyshniakov, the Chairman of the Jewish Foundation for Cultural Relations, the Honorary Consul of the State of Israel in Western Ukraine, came to Jerusalem with a three-day visit. On14th of December he conducted the meeting with Faina Kirschenbaum, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, the Speaker of the Knesset, and Ze’ev Elkin, the Chairman of the parliamentary coalition. On 15th of December a working meeting was held with Yair Shamir, the Minister of Agriculture, and Avigdor Lieberman, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the end of his visit Oleg Vyshniakov also met Reuven Rivlin, the President of Israel.
Mr. Vyshniakov works closely with Embassy of Israel in Kiev and Pavel Klimkin, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. He intends to promote the issue of a Free Trade Area (FTA) between the two countries. Currently, the pivot of Ukrainian export is raw material amounting to $800 million per year, whereas technologies are the primary purchase from Israel. Mr. Vyshniakov said that the establishment of a Free Trade Area will increase the trade turnover significantly. “Unfortunately, this issue has not been resolved yet. There is still a lot of to be worked for” he said in an interview with a journalist of IzRus portal.
What were the main topics that were touched upon during your visit in general, and within a meeting with Avigdor Lieberman - in particular?
The promotion of Israeli agricultural technologies in Ukraine, especially in Western regions. The governors of all regions would be pleased to strengthen mutual co-operation with such an advanced country as Israel. Ukraine has wonderful fertile soil and hardworking people. Israeli technologies can give us a powerful impetus to an agricultural and economic development. I have discussed this topic in detail with Mr. Shamir and raised it during the meeting with Mr. Lieberman.
One more topical issue that was discussed at the meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel was a matter of humanitarian medical aid for Ukraine. A modern Diagnostic Center was opened at the Vinnytsya city hospital two years ago. The crucial role in the opening was played by the Center for International Cooperation and Assistance (MASHAV) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, which also organized trainings and education for personnel. What can bring together nations and countries better than saving lives? We would like to get assistance from Israel in the creation of emergency rooms and medical personnel development. Mr. Lieberman promised to check these issues.
Direct flight between Israel and Lviv will be launched in April. Will this contribute to the economic development of Western Ukraine?
Undoubtedly. First of all, I hope it will increase the number of Israeli tourists for whom it will be easier to travel not only to Uman, but also to other cities of Western Ukraine. I would like Israelis to visit us for vacations, especially during the summer. By the way, one of the issues that I discussed during the meeting with Mr. Lieberman was dedicated to the rehabilitation and medical centers such as in Truskavets. Medical treatment and recreation in such places is quite affordable for the average Israeli. A direct flight could give an impetus to the economy of the region, due to the fact that traveling from Israel to Lviv and vice versa would be much easier for entrepreneurs.
What other topics were raised during the visit?
We talked about many things, but particularly I would like to mention the development of medical tourism. The fact is that the treatment in Israel is not affordable for everyone. I hope Israeli clinics would collaborate with Ukrainian insurance companies and monthly contributions would cover the expenses of medical treatment in Israel. The middle class in Ukraine can afford private health insurance with monthly payments roughly amounting to $50, and in the case of illness, policyholders would undergo treatment in leading Israeli hospitals.
However, there is something concerning not business, but our history. Yanovsky death camp functioned on the outskirts of Lviv, where about 200,000 people were murdered. A memorial stone was erected there in early 90’s, but I would like to erect a real monument in order to remember and prevent the recurrence of such tragedies.