Tonga-Israeli ties bolstered by visit from Speaker of Knesset

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12 April, 2011. The Speaker of the Knesset of Israel, His Excellency Mr Reuven Rivlin paid an official one-day visit to the Kingdom last week to reinforce relations between Tonga and Israel.

Accompanying the Speaker on his visit on Thursday 7 April, was the Chairman of the Labour, Welfare and Health Committee and Member of the Israel-New Zealand Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mr Haim Katz, Director of the Foreign Affairs Department Mrs Mira Ratzabi, Senior Advisor to the Speaker of the Knesset Mr Harel Tubi, and the Israeli Ambassador to Tonga, His Excellency Mr Shemi Tzur.

Mr Rivlin had a special audience with His Majesty King George Tupou V, and made calls on the Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Samiu Kuita Vaipulu, and the Speaker of Parliament Lord Lasike.
"Tonga and Israel have had historic and warm relations. We are so grateful and privileged to be here with your people," stated Mr Rivlin, while exchanging gifts with Hon. Vaipulu at the Prime Minister's Office.

On behalf of the State of Israel, the Speaker of the Knesset also made a large donation of medical supplies for the treatment of diabetes to the Ministry of Health, including diabetes test strips, glucose meters, insulin pens, needles and syringes.

Chairman of Australia's Insulin for Life organisation Mr Ron Raab participated in the event.

In accepting the gift, Minister for Health Hon. ‘Uliti Uata said Tonga was honoured to host representatives of the "historical people of the bible":

"We look forward to a long-lasting relationship between the people of Israel and the people of Tonga."

Tonga and Israel have sustained diplomatic relations since 1977, with Israeli assistance focused largely on the health sector.

Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications. (Photo: Talanoa Langi)


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