Deputy Chief of Mission, Consul Eitan Weiss (R) with YP Board Chair Jerome Hsiang
***Note: This conversation was held before Israel barred entry to two Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asserted he would annex much of the West Bank***
The Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall’s Young Professionals Program was honored to have hosted the Deputy Chief of Mission of Israel’s Mission diplomatic mission to Los Angeles, Mr. Eitan Weiss. At this special Members Exclusive event, Consul Weiss spoke on Israel’s upcoming elections and Israel’s foreign policy.
On Israeli foreign policy, the Consul made clear that the country’s greatest concern is the Iranian regime, and they tend to conduct their foreign policy in a manner that protects them from any Iranian aggression – real or perceived. Consul Weiss made clear that part of the reason they trade technology with Russia and China is to keep those important Iranian partners friendly with Tel Aviv.
The Consul also spoke of the importance of Israel’s diplomatic corps. With 140 missions around the world, Israel boasts one of largest diplomatic corps in the world – especially large considering the relative size of Israel’s population to their diplomatic presence. Diplomacy is an integral part of Israeli statecraft because of their need to build allies and ensure survival in the face of near-constant regional strife.
On Israel’s upcoming elections, Consul Weiss gave an overview of his government’s parliamentary system and linked that to why these new elections are happening so soon after the previous round in April 2019, which resulted in a dissolved parliament by May 2019. This next round of elections are to be held in mid-September 2019, which the Israeli people hope will lead to a clear ruling majority, either with one party taking home the majority or by multiple parties building a ruling coalition. With so many small political parties, the government is most often formed by coalitions; this spring, according to Consul Weiss, these smaller parties fought too much and were unable to build a ruling coalition.
Consul Weiss is hopeful that these new elections will see a majority voted in to power, or the right amount of smaller parties will join forces to build a fair ruling coalition.
The Young Professionals Program thanks Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Eitan Weiss, for joining us in this discussion, and thank Israel’s mission to Los Angeles for helping us make this event happen.