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by Rhonda Spivak October 26 2018


Israel's Consul General Galit Baram was in Winnipeg on October 25 for an "introductory visit" here "to build bridges and bring two very friendly countries, Israel and Canada, even closer together." 


"The focus of this visit was to promote co-operation between the Province of Manitoba and the State of Israel in areas such as economic co-operation, academic exchange and co-operation in the field of agriculture," said Baram.


As she noted, "Israel is a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. It is known worldwide for its achievements in agricultural technology, health, research and development, and water management. Many of these issues are relevant for the Province of Manitoba."


While she was in Winnipeg, Baram met with Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson,  Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba Janice Filmon, Speaker Myrna Driedger, Minister of Education and Training Kelvin Goertzen, Minister of Agriculture Ralph Eichler, Minister of Growth, Enterprise &Trade Blaine Pedersen, and Leader of the Opposition Wab Kinew.


"I am grateful to the members of the Manitoba Legislature for their hospitality and their willingness to discuss co-operation between Israel and Manitoba. The purpose of my visit was to have a general discussion about bilateral relations," added Baram, who was born in Jerusalem in 1969. 


"It is important for us to look into ways to further expand our business relations and the friendly political relationship that already exists between Israel and Manitoba," Baram said.


Baram stressed that while this was her first time in Winnipeg since she became Consul General for Toronto and Western Canada two years ago, "I will not wait two more years until my next visit. I guarantee that."


While she was here Baram was very pleased to have an initial meeting with the leadership of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, which she found quite productive.


Baram also visited the Canadian Museum for Human Rights [CMHR].  "I was deeply impressed with the Museum, in particular the Holocaust Gallery. The Museum engages young people with interactive technology. I was glad to hear that there is co-operation between the Museum and Yad Vashem.   I believe it is one of the most important museums in the world."


Baram also saw the Holocaust memorial on the grounds of the Manitoba  Legislature. She met with a group of about 40-50 young Israelis who live in Winnipeg. The group meets regularly as part of "The Israeli House," a program of the Israeli Ministry of Immigration and Absorption. The discussion that evening was in the field of science in Israel.  Baramexplained that the Consulate provides consular services for these young people and lets them know that Israel “will always be their home away from home." 


When asked about the subject of peace negotiations, Baram said "We believe that the Palestinians should return to the negotiation table to discuss the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is nothing that replaces direct negotiations." She added that "the issue of Palestinian refugees" should be addressed in the context of peace negotiations.


On the subject of UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency) Baram noted that there are a lot of serious problems with the agency. Some of the textbooks used in schools run by UNRWA "teach hatred of Israel" and "are filled with incitement."


Baram explained that "the agency was founded by the U.N. to help Palestinian refugees only.  But another organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) deals with all other refugees in the entire world.  UNRWA actually perpetuates the refugee problem by including not only the original refugees but also generations of descendants, some of whom have citizenship elsewhere such as in Jordan, to be defined as refugees. Under the UNHCR,  if they have citizenship in another country they would not be considered refugees ) 


"There was also evidence that  UNRWA facilities were used by Hamas to shelter terrorists and ammunition," Baram added. 


Prior to becoming Israel's Consul General for Toronto and Western Canada, Baram was Israel’s Director of the Department for Palestinian Affairs and Regional Co-operation (2013-2016).















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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.