YEREVAN (News.am)—The newly appointed Ambassador of Israel to Armenia Eliyahu Yerushalmi spoke about the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Republic issue, relations with Armenia’s neighbors, and the possibility of operating direct flights between the countries during an interview with News.am.
“We want to see you living in peace, and our policy is that peace between you and your neighbor has to be based on the Minsk Group,” Yerushalmi said when asked if Israel has changed its position on the Karabakh conflict. “Anything that will be decided for the good of your nations is fine for us. The most important thing is that you have peace in the region, and Armenia could live in peace.”
The Ambassador was also asked to assess the development of Armenian-Israeli relations given that Israel sells weapons to Azerbaijan.
“Naturally, Israel does not comment about this issue,” he responded. “The issue was raised during my meetings in Yerevan and will probably be discussed in future consultations.”
News.am also asked the Ambassador to explain why the Israeli government (Knesset) has not yet recognized the Armenian Genocide after the Education, Culture and Sports Committee has already done so.
Yerushalmi said it is always on the governments mind, calling the genocide the Armenian “tragedy.”
“Israel cannot say what we think happened there because it is a historical issue between you and Turkey. We will go with anything that you and Turkey decide.”
“I was at museum in Yerevan when I visited,” he said, “and it looked very much the same as Yad Vashem, the museum of the Holocaust in Israel. Like on the issue of Karabakh, between you and Azerbaijan, we have to abide by what you and the other side decide.”
The interview also the launch of Yerevan-Tel-Aviv flights and its contribution to the growth of tourism.
“We believe that there is a tremendous potential,” the Ambassador said when asked if flights will resume. “We already signed a few agreements. The direct flight will start maybe even this summer.”
“In Georgia there are over 100 thousand Israeli tourists every year, Yerushalmi compared. “I hope that during my time as an ambassador to Armenia we will also have this. Israelis are looking for new tourist spots. Armenia has a tremendous potential for Israeli tourism, and Yerevan is a super city for Israelis. I think Israelis would love Armenia, and it is also very close; only two-hour flight. I do not have figures, but I think as soon as the direct flights start, we will sell tourist packages to each other.”