Israeli, Iranian Officials in ‘Historic’ Zoom Meeting
A small first step toward normalization?
A historic meeting between an Israeli government minister and a senior Iranian official took place this week during an international media conference on Zoom.
Minister of Communications Yoaz Hendel (pictured) participated in the ‘ITU Telecom Digital’ conference. The aim of the conference is to provide a global platform for accelerating innovations in the field of ICT, which is aimed at providing economic development and digital solutions; and also as a forum for sharing knowledge and recommended work practices and for encouraging networking that connects countries, regulators, organizations and academia.
Hendel spoke at a round table dealing with the role of digital technologies during and after the Coronavirus pandemic. The conference was also attended by a representative from Iran, the Deputy Minister of Technology and Innovation, Sattar Hashemi.
Conference organizers feared that the Iranian official would leave the call as soon as Hendel spoke, but, surprisingly, the Iranian remained in the call and even listened to Hendel’s remarks.
Hendel took the opportunity to send a message to Iranian officials and citizens alike: “Technology can be a bridge between citizens and between countries, even between countries that have no diplomatic ties. The State of Israel is committed to connecting people, that is what we want to do in the Middle East and around the globe. The role of technology is to connect people, save lives, and improve the quality of life. We need to connect, and not destroy…”
The Iranian representative listened politely to Hendel’s message and did not respond. When it was the Iranian’s turn to speak, Hendel returned the favor.