Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni kicked off a conference in Jerusalem yesterday of all European ambassadors to Israel with the participation of 32 envoys representing 36 countries of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe.
During the conference, the ambassadors will hold meetings with the prime minister, the foreign minister, head of the Shin Bet, head of the Mossad, head of the Atomic Energy Committee, the director-general of the Foreign Ministry, and the attorney general.
This conference is taking place at a time when there is a noticeable improvement in the relationship between Israel and Europe, and over the last two years there has been a constant strategic political dialogue between Israel and Europe. This dialogue deals with a long list of issues, including the Iranian nuclear issue.
However, the improvement in relations and the increasing level of obligation between Israel and Europe has done little to change the European public’s opinion towards Israel and the Foreign Ministry is saying that this issue is the biggest and most difficult challenge facing Israel and the ambassadors representing it across Europe.
The conference will include a brainstorming session which will result in a unique public diplomacy campaign with messages which will be tailored to the different countries.
Other than discussions, one of the days of the conference will be designated for a visit to Sderot which will include a lookout and a briefing from military personnel. The ambassadors will meet with the mayor, visit schools and speak with local students. They will also visit the Of-Kor factory which employs new immigrants and where a worker was recently killed by a Kassam attack.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said at the outset of the conference that if it seemed in the past that there are major differences between Israel and Europe and Israel was perceived as the prime suspect and as the rejecter of peace, today there is greater understanding that we share the same vision.