Ukraine to open tech innovation office in Jerusalem

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz hails the move as extending the country’s diplomatic facilities in Israel’s capital.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Ukraine has officially requested permission to open a technological innovation office in Jerusalem, in accordance with agreements made in August between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Vladimir Zelensky.

According to Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, the letter his ministry received stated that the facility would be a diplomatic representation.

“This office will have the status of a diplomatic mission and will be part of the Ukrainian embassy in Israel,” he said, hailing the move as one that “strengthens the status of Jerusalem in the world.” He said that he had already instructed his office to give all the aid necessary for setting up the office.

The official status of the new office was not as clear to the Ukrainian media, which reported a vaguer statement that the Minister of Foreign Affairs put out on his Twitter feed.

“Ukraine and Israel are getting closer – an important event,” said Vadym Prystaiko. “According to Vladimir Zelensky’s agreements with the Prime Minister of Israel, we are planning to open an innovation office in Jerusalem, which together with the Ukrainian Embassy in Tel Aviv will help new industries of the two countries find partners.”

Read  Hamas wants Temple Mount, Jerusalem 'explosion' - Intel chief

If the tech center is indeed an extension of Ukraine’s Tel Aviv Embassy, the East European country will join its Hungarian and Czech neighbors in opening trade-related offices in Jerusalem that have some sort of diplomatic status.

Other countries that have also opened official bureaus for trade, culture or security in Jerusalem since President Donald Trump moved the U.S. Embassy there in May 2018 include Australia and Honduras. Brazil and Paraguay have announced that they would do so as well, but have yet to follow through.

Only Guatemala and the tiny island state of Nauru have followed Trump’s lead in recognizing all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, although Australia and Russia have gone so far as to announce that they recognize western Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

The opening of a high-tech development center in Israel’s capital will be in tandem with the opening of a similar Israeli office in Kiev.

As Netanyahu told his Ukrainian counterpart on his official visit to the country two months ago, “What we would like to see is not merely the exchange of technology and the involvement of Ukrainians in our hi-tech industries. We’d like to see Israeli hi-tech investments, joint mutual investments here in the Ukraine. Not only do we not mind this, we encourage this.”

Read  Hamas wants Temple Mount, Jerusalem 'explosion' - Intel chief