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New Zealand and Israel share a longstanding and friendly relationship. New Zealand is currently focusing on ways in which to improve exchanges with Israel in the trade, economic and cultural fields of interest.
The Middle East peace process has been a primary focus in bilateral interactions with Israel. New Zealand pursues a balanced, constructive, and even-handed approach to settlement of the Arab - Israeli conflict, with support for Israel’s secure existence balanced by support for a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. New Zealand personnel have served with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in Israel since 1954, and with the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers (MFO), underpinning the Egypt - Israel Peace Treaty, since 1982.
New Zealand and Israeli officials held their second round of Foreign Ministry Consultations in Wellington in June 2008. The discussions were frank and positive, and focused on developments in Israel’s troubled region, and ways in which to strengthen the bilateral relationship.
Israelis are frequent visitors to New Zealand, comprising the largest source of tourists from the Middle East region - approximately 10 000 Israelis visited in 2008. Visitor visa waiver arrangements are in place to facilitate business travel and tourism between the two countries. New Zealand and Israeli officials are also working on the text of a New Zealand - Israel Working Holiday Scheme to encourage further interaction between our two countries by enabling young Israelis and New Zealanders to work and study in one another’s country.
In 2007 the Knesset established an Israel - New Zealand Parliamentary Friendship League. New Zealand has had an Israel - New Zealand Parliamentary Friendship Group for many years.
Official Name - State of Israel
Land Area - 20,325 sq km (not including occupied territories)
Population - 7.2 million
Capital City - Jerusalem (not recognised internationally)
Religion - Israel is a Jewish state with Muslim and Christian minorities
Language - Hebrew and Arabic (English and Russian are also widely spoken)
Currency - New Israeli Shekel (NIS)
Exchange Rate - US$1 = NIS4.13 (EIU estimate for 2009 average)
Political system - Parliamentary Democracy
National government - Cabinet, responsible to the legislature
National legislature - Unicameral Knesset of 120 members
Last election - 10 February 2009
Head of State - President Shimon Peres
Head of Government - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Key Ministers - Finance: Yuval Steinitz; Foreign Affairs: Avigdor Lieberman; Defence: Ehud Barak
Main political parties - Likud, Kadima, Labour, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, National Union-National Religious Party, Gil, United Torah Judaism, Meretz, United Arab List, Hadash, Balad
* Trade figures from Statistics New Zealand December 2008.
New Zealand exports to Israel totalled NZ$52 million for the year ended December 2008. Imports into New Zealand from Israel were worth NZ$120 million.
The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) regional office in Dubai, and the local NZTE office in Ankara, cover New Zealand’s trade relationship with Israel. A New Zealand and Israel Trade Association was set up in 1994, and remains active.
New Zealand is represented in Israel by:
Israel is represented in New Zealand by:
The Safetravel website [external link] provides a travel advisory for travellers to Israel.
Enquiries may be directed to Consular Division at the following numbers:
Ph: +64 4 439 8000
Fax: +64 4 439 8532.