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Ambassador Farwells the West

In his last official speaking engagement in Western Australia, retiring Ambassador of Israel to Australia, His Excellency Mr Yuval Rotem, addressed industry leaders an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (WA) business breakfast.

Hosted by Ashurst, the address was delivered in the presence of the Governor of Western Australia, His Excellency Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, Senator Glenn Sterle, and MLA Ian Britza.

Mr Rotem delivered an optimistic appraisal of Israel’s economy and emerging trade prospects, its stable employment and inflationary market, and continually growing hi-tech industry. His address incorporated an insight into Israel’s emerging energy market, of which Western Australian company Woodside is a major partner. In particular Mr Rotem made reference of the strategic impact that offshore gas reserves would have on Israel’s economic structure, how domestic and lower cost energy sources would further contribute to productivity, and how the potential impact of currency inflating “Dutch disease” could be avoided by investing the proceeds of tenement revenue into offshore sovereign wealth funds.

The Ambassador’s prepared address was complemented by a profound and deeply personal reflection of his term in office. Fielding questions from invited guests, Mr Rotem discussed the geopolitic of regional instability in Egypt, Syria and Iran. He discussed the economic and cultural shift currently impacting Israeli and Palestinian society to support the current peace making efforts, and the ability of Israel to navigate global economic change due to the nation’s engrained ability to adapt and innovate in an environment of sudden and complex challenge.

Yuval Rotem remains the youngest Ambassador in the Israeli Ministry. When asked about his perception of diplomatic attitudes towards Australia, he remarked that the global diplomatic culture associated with posting to Australia was based on the stability of the Country and its limited influence on global economic and strategic alliances. However during the period of his tenure he has noted a change of mindset, resulting in global Diplomatic postings charged with ambition, recognition and opportunity.

When pointed out that Mr Rotem had visited Western Australia no less than 44 times over the past three years, the Ambassador was further questioned about the State’s contribution to the Federation. Attaching regional and geographic importance to Asia to strong economic credentials, Mr Rotem urged Western Australia to exert more commercial and political influence on the building of Australia’s future. He cited emerging economies such as India and Indonesia as critical strategic partners to Australia’s longer-term future, and noted that the unique recent experience of Western Australia economic prosperity had not been translated into national based movements in policy. He further compared the Western Coast of Australia to the Western Coast of America, noting that the seaboard of Los Angeles and surrounds had far greater influence on the culture and economic imperatives of the United States.

Mr Rotem acknowledged the successful work of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, and in particular the bilateral trade development between Western Australia and Israel facilitated through the work of the Chamber.