Moshe Kahlon: We have things to share, but we are also ready to learn from Ukraine as well

On Monday, July 6, a meeting between Moshe Kahlon, the Minister of Finance of the State of Israel (the head of Kulanu political party), and Oleg Vyshniakov, the Honorary Consul of the State of Israel in Western Ukraine took place in Jerusalem.

The meeting was dedicated to potential opportunities in Ukraine-Israel cooperation, including agricultural and high-tech sectors, tourism, psychological rehabilitation of those suffered from military activities.

Oleg Vyshniakov listed the initiatives that are to be considered in the nearest future. For example, one important issue is participation in the creation of rehabilitation center with the application of Israeli technologies, equipment and assistance of Israeli experts. Such center can be opened in Lviv or any other big Ukrainian city. Such an initiative will improve bilateral Ukraine-Israel relations and will also show loyalty of the Israelis to Ukraine and their readiness to cooperate.

According to the Honorary Consul, loyalty of the Ukrainians to Israel is very high as well. People of Western Ukraine visit Israel quite often, they have friends and relatives there. They also visit Israel for medical tourism. Pilgrims visit holy places year over year: pilgrims from Israel visit Uman city in Ukraine, pilgrims from Ukraine go to Jerusalem. With the assistance of the Honorary Consulate and Ukrainian International Airlines the direct flight Lviv-Tel Aviv-Lviv was opened recently in order to develop and increase tourist flow between the two countries. In a month after it was launched the number of flights increased: despite one time a week flight there are already two regular flights. This points to the fact that tourist flow is really big and there is a necessity to evolve and develop Israelis’ interest to Ukraine and vise versa. During the discussion of this issue, the Honorary Consul mentioned a number of problems dedicated to comfort tourists staying in the country. In Israel the problem is that there are a lot of denials at Ben Gurion Airport. This problem was raised many times in media but it hasn’t been solved yet.

Mr. Kahlon expressed readiness to cooperate fully with the Honorary Consul to realize such initiatives.

One more topic for discussion was Israeli assistance in psychological rehabilitation of those suffered from military activities. “Unfortunately, Israel is in the state of war almost all over its history and within this period gleaned great experience in psychological rehabilitation of people who experienced war and death. Up to now Ukraine has never faced such a problem. Several years ago nobody could even imagine war on Ukraine territory. Israel should help as best as it can.” Mr. Vyshniakov said.

Starting from November 2014, together with the Embassy of the State of Israel in Ukraine, the Honorary Consulate brings Israeli psychologists to Kyiv and Lviv on a regular basis. Seminars for Ukrainian specialists, who work with both civilians and militaries suffered during war activities, are being held on gratis basis. These trainings became very popular among Ukrainian psychologists. Israeli specialists provide practical skills and prepared programs for solving different issues, which occur during rehabilitation of a patient. Ukrainians have still not obtained similar knowledge and practices and such sharing of experience is invaluable. One more appeal of the Honorary Consulate of the State of Israel in Western Ukraine to the Ministry of Finance of the State of Israel is to support such initiatives and provide financial aid in development of such programs.

Moshe Kahlon, the Minister of Finance, highlighted that he has been in Ukraine many times, including Uman. According to Mr. Kahlon, it’s a pity that Israel has such tragic experience as psychological rehabilitation of people, who were at the conflict area. Nevertheless, if such experience exists, it is vital to share it to those, who need it. Mr. Kahlon expressed his readiness to support different humanitarian projects in this country, and also to contribute to cooperation between the two countries in different spheres, including agriculture, tourism and high technologies.