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Status of candidate for EU integration would lead Israeli companies to invest in Moldova - non-resident Ambassador of Israel to Moldova says

12:30 | 18.10.2022 Category: Interview, Event

Non-resident Ambassador of the State of Israel to the Republic of Moldova Joel Lion gave an exclusive interview to MOLDPRES State News Agency on current issues, bilateral relations and investments made in our country.

MOLDPRES: Mr. Ambassador, you are at the beginning of your term. What would be the priority actions you propose to carry out in the Republic of Moldova?

Joel Lion: As you know, this is not the first time I come to the Republic of Moldova. I actually came here on the night of the 24th and 25th of February this year, being sent by the State of Israel to help manage the refugee crisis. We are proud we were able to support the Republic of Moldova at that time and we continue to help Ukrainian refugees today. I believe that the major priority of my mandate is to strengthen bilateral relations. These are very good, including at high level. However, we need to do more. It is time when Israeli citizens can invest in Moldova. The country holds the status of a candidate for European Union integration, this is a good signal for Israeli companies. Another priority is to determine the country's needs and see in which areas we can cooperate. I think the first necessity is energy, but there is not much we can do here. However, we can come up with a long-term solution, such as renewable energy, or we can cooperate in agriculture or health. So the possibilities are very big and I hope that together with the team we will be able to achieve important things.

MOLDPRES: At the beginning of this year, the Minister of Justice of the State of Israel was willing to share good practices in fighting corruption and strengthening the independence of the judicial system in the Republic of Moldova. Would public institutions in Israel be ready to provide support in carrying out reforms in other areas? How could this cooperation influence the integration of the Republic of Moldova into the European Union?

Joel Lion: The meeting was very good. We are currently working on the drafting of an Agreement and several projects in justice sector. The Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Israel works hard. He met with the Minister of Justice of my country to continue the discussion. Regarding the reforms, I don't think it would be good for Israel to get involved in this process, because the European Union and the United States of America help you a lot in this regard. However, if you need very specific support, we are always ready to answer and help you.

MOLDPRES: Are the legal institutions in Israel ready to cooperate with the prosecutors in our country in the file initiated on behalf of former MP Ilan Shor, investigated for fraud and money laundering in the "bank fraud" case? What are the necessary mechanisms so that he can be extradited to the Republic of Moldova to be referred to justice?

Joel Lion: It is important to separate the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. Separation of powers is the basis of any democracy in the world. If a person from the executive branch gets involved in matters of the judicial process, then it will not be fair. The most important thing is to allow justice to do its job. Israel has one of the best justice systems in the world, with total independence of judges. This represents a pride for our country. Thus, each extradition case is presented to the court, which makes a decision in this regard. If we allow justice to do its job, then things will get done.

MOLDPRES: What are the main areas of Israel's assistance and investment in the Republic of Moldova?

Joel Lion: As regards the health sector, there is still equipment that needs to reach Moldova. We also provide education support and will soon provide 600 computers. The country sent a delegation of 20 workers who together with social workers from the Republic of Moldova worked with Ukrainian refugees. A problem would be export and import, which are at very low rates. It is difficult to export agricultural products to Israel. Our agricultural economy is very closed. At the same time, we can find Moldovan wine and cognac in Israel. From Israel, the export is also very small. Our prices are very high. So they are not competitive on the market. However, I hope that once the pandemic recedes, more tourists from Israel will visit Moldova. It is necessary to determine the needs of both countries and act accordingly.

MOLDPRES: There are several Moldovan citizens working in Israel, however, until now no international agreement has been signed between the two states in the social insurance. In your opinion, when could this document be signed so that Moldovans can benefit from a pension from this country?

Joel Lion: I don't know about this issue. I will check how things are going in this direction. If it is really so, it means that not only Moldovans cannot have pensions for work in Israel, but also repatriates from the Republic of Moldova, who came to Israel, cannot acquire their pension because it is a mutual relationship.

MOLDPRES: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel and the Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) annually grant professional internships for the training of specialists in various fields. Currently, what study opportunities does the state of Israel offer to Moldovan youth and experts?

Joel Lion: This June a few people came to the hospital crisis management course. Currently, no internships are organized. When they take place, we will notify the authorities here.  I believe that such courses will be organized in November. These can concern the education, social insurance, community policing or health. 

MOLDPRES: Israel is an active promoter of our country's culture. Thus, during the year a lot of events are organized in Israel, such as Mărțișor festival or the Culture Days of the Republic of Moldova. What is the cultural agenda for the autumn-winter of this year?

Joel Lion: I really want to organize such events together with the Jewish community. Such an event is to be organized in late October. I am absolutely sure that the Israeli people also want to know other cultures, including the Moldovan one, and they will have a great interest in participating in such events. However, currently all efforts and aid are directed towards the refugee crisis.

MOLDPRES: Mr. Ambassador Joel Lion, thank you for being kind enough to give this interview to our agency.

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