Belfast Telegraph

Israeli envoy Regev attends gathering at Ulster Hall

Israeli ambassador to the UK Mark Regev (right) meets with ICEJ director Brian Silvester at the Ulster Hall yesterday
Israeli ambassador to the UK Mark Regev (right) meets with ICEJ director Brian Silvester at the Ulster Hall yesterday
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

The Israeli ambassador to the UK visited Belfast yesterday to attend an event in support of his country at the Ulster Hall.

Mark Regev held meetings with members of the DUP at Stormont yesterday before attending the Taste of Tabernacles evening function.

As Israel's former spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Regev was the face of the state as he gave numerous interviews to the media explaining his country's position during the Gaza War in 2008-2009 and other major conflicts.

Organised by the Irish branch of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), the meeting called for a "demonstration of solidarity with the Jewish community"in view of "the unfolding security situation in the Middle East".

The ICEJ said yesterday evening's event was a "wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to the Jewish people that they are not alone".

Posting on his Twitter account yesterday Mr Regev noted that Israel's sixth president, Chaim Herzog, was born in Belfast a century ago this year.

Speaking after meeting Mr Regev, DUP Assembly member Simon Hamilton said: "We discussed our respective political processes as well as how we can deepen the economic links between our two countries."

Despite a warm welcome at the Ulster Hall and from unionist politicians, Mr Regev faced protests ahead of speaking at Cardiff University last month.

A petition signed by over 200 students claimed that as ambassador Mr Regev "both stands and covers for (Israeli) war crimes and violations of international law".

In December Mr Regev praised US President Donald Trump's highly controversial move to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The move sparked protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"You could not have peace without Jerusalem being Israel's capital," he told the BBC.

This month representatives of Arab League member states met in Egypt to demand that Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The status of Jerusalem has been at the centre of a decades long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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