Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam


[This article was first written in June 2009, and is being reprinted now]

By Rhonda J Spivak, B.A., L.L.B.

Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, Miriam Ziv, says that while all options are on the table, the “Israeli government’s main goal is to find a diplomatic solution” to the problem of Iran’s quest to become a nuclear power.
Ziv is a veteran career diplomat whose first foreign posting, in 1974, was to Toronto, where she spent five years as vice-consul. She spoke to a gathering of community leaders at the luncheon sponsored by the Jewish Federation on June 3rd at the Campus.
If President Obama’s “engagement” of Iran doesn’t produce results, then “we [the international community] will need to go with really tough sanctions,” Ziv said.

“ We need to  exert pressure and strong sanctions that will  create pressure on Iran to  change its course…U.N. Security Council resolutions aren’t strong enough…We need to close down the  banking system-European banks that do business with Iranian banks ought to cease doing so,” Ziv  said.

 Ziv also explained that  Iranian oil is refined outside of Iran, and thus Iran is economically dependent on other countries to refine its oil. “We need to stop enabling Iran to refine its oil,” said Ziv, who noted that this measure would create real economic pressure on Iran to change its course of action.

Ziv, who is  Israel’s first female ambassador to Canada,  said that “the Israeli assessment is that the  end of 2009 is when Iran will have the capacity to build a nuclear bomb…That time line has not moved for  the last two years.”

She  noted that  there are 3 components necessary for Iran to build a nuclear bomb.

“They [ the Iranians] need to enrich uranium, they need missiles and they need warheads…the bomb ….They have [the necessary] missiles…They have had the  program for  warheads for a long time… the only question is whether they  have enough enriched uranium,” Ziv  said.

“Up until now Iran has produced lower grade uranium, uranium that  is lower than the  93%  higher grade uranium that is required,” Ziv continued.

She explained that to produce the higher grade enriched uranium necessary, Iran “has to take the decision to kick out   U.N. inspectors ” and “then in 3-4 months they’ll be able to do it [produce a nuclear bomb].”

“Imagine how bold Iran will be when it has the bomb.  The threat is not only to Israel but to all the world,” Ziv said emphatically.

Turning to the peace process, Ziv said that despite all of the talk about “ two states for two peoples,”  the  negotiations carried out by former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni produced “ nothing.”   She said that the Israelis and Palestinians ought to enter negotiations, without deciding in advance what the result will be.  “The process needs to start from the bottom up, not from the top down,” she said.

Ziv  stressed that Israeli  Prime Minister Netanyahu was taking measures to  “ease the daily life of the Palestinians”, by  “increasing the  number of  permits for businessmen from the West Bank to be able to  enter Israel.”  Prior to the  second intifada, according to Ziv,  Israel  gave “60,000  permits to Palestinian businessmen to  come into Israel,” but  Israel stopped this  due to  the threat of suicide  bombers.

 Notwithstanding that  “Jewish settlers [in  the West Bank] have already been complaining about  easing these restrictions that  enable more businessmen to  travel back and forth”,  Ziv said “Netanyahu is intent on easing the restrictions.” 

Ziv added that  “the Israeli government has already set up a  ministerial committee looking into ways to increase investment in the West Bank” to improve  the Palestinian economy.
Ziv  first entered Israel’s foreign ministry in 1972, following her studies in English linguistics and political science at Tel Aviv University. She was later the first deputy director general (for Africa).
She and her husband, retired diplomat Ariel Kenet, are the parents of twin sons, now 24, who have remained in Israel to continue their studies.
Ziv was posted to Rome in 1991- she was No. 3 at the embassy, her husband No. 2. Ziv’s responsibility was to be the contact with the Vatican. In that role, she said, “we managed to reach an agreement with the Holy See and establish relations…something that was one of the highlights of my career.”
She  also told her audience that increasing Israel’s presence at Canadian universities, and combating Israel-apartheid week on campuses is a priority.
She noted that “I came to the most  friendly government [Canada’s Harper government] in the world which makes the life of an Ambassador easy.” She added that her counterparts in Europe “are having a much more difficult time.”
The Israeli embassy, according to Ziv, intends to reach out to the provinces and explore partnership opportunities, patterned after the ground-breaking partnership between JNF  with  Manitoba’s government in the areas of agricultural and water technology.
Ziv also noted that the Israeli embassy is organizing activities together with the Canadian government to celebrate this year’s 60th anniversary of joint relations between the two countries.
Canada’s Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenny recently returned from a trip to Israel, where he visited, a Jewish Agency absorption centre and met with Israeli counterpart, Immigration Minister Sofa Landver, Ziv said.
  “We are looking at creating an academic exchange on  immigration  policies…Israel has a lot of experience in  absorbing  immigrants and this is an area of  potential partnership [between Canada and Israel], ” she noted.
By Rhonda Spivak
Ha’aretz reported that  Canada’s Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenny said while in Israel at the end of  May that "new anti-Semitism" that emanates from an alliance of Western leftists and Islamic extremists is more dangerous than the "old European" form of Jew-hatred.

"The existential threat faced by Israel on a daily basis is ultimately a threat to the broader Western civilization,"  Kenney  was quoted in Ha’aretz as saying.

"It's a threat that comes from profoundly undemocratic forces that don't have the same conception of human dignity or freedom, and which abuse Israel as a kind of representative of the broader West and Western liberal-democratic values," Kenney  continued.

Last month Kenny was elected Canada's "Best Overall MP" by fellow parliamentarians.

As quoted in Ha’aretz, Kenney said many anti-Israel attacks come from adherents of a form of anti-Semitism that who appear to view a Jewish homeland as illegitimate:

"Israel is not perfect, obviously… Israelis should be the first to admit that. But we acknowledge that so much of the criticism Israel faces is motivated by a dangerous form of anti-Semitism that tries to hide behind anti-Zionism and is represented by a coalition of the far left in the West with extreme currents of jihadi Islam that seek the destruction of the Jewish nation. They seem to believe that the Jewish people are the only people in the world that don't have a right to a homeland."

Before coming to Israel, Kenney visited Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.


<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • Orthodox Union
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Coughlin Insurance Brokers
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • Tel Aviv University Canada
  • Booke + Partners
  • Gislason Targownik
  • James Teitsma
  • Janice Morley-Lecomte
  • Obby Khan
  • Artista Homes
  • Fetching Style
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Chisick Family
  • Stringers Rentals
  • Winnipeg Beach Home Building Centre
  • KC Enterprises
  • John Wishnowski
  • JLS Construction
  • Ingrid Bennett
  • Gulay Plumbing
  • The Paper Fifrildi
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Levene Tadman Golub
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Holiday Inn Polo Park
  • Bruce Shefrin Interior Design
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Bridges for Peace
  • CVA Systems
  • Chochy's
  • Lakeside Roofing
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • Roseman Corp
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • kristinas-greek
  • The Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd.
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.