To those who like the origins of names or ancestral meanings, theirs seems to come from the concept of the sea wave and those who carry it look kind and flexible but are tenacious, confident in their ideas and resolutions. Educated in the socialist utopia of kibbutz, Galit Ronen is Israel's new ambassador to Argentina. She comes from representing her country in Uruguay and confesses that her academic training as a biologist led her to this diplomatic task where there is always something to discover.
In the talk with Infobae he speaks of "being Jewish" ("I am agnostic but without doubt convinced part of the tradition and of the Jewish people"), of the threat of Iran ("it is a terrorist country") and of the need to pursue justice in the cases AMIA, Embassy and Alberto Nisman. The full interview.
– Except the flu, how are we treating it?RELATED
– Well, you see I got sick. But no, it's not Argentina, it's me.
– First time in Argentina on a diplomatic mission?
– Yes. I was here a weekend before but two days nothing more.
– Did they let her out of Buenos Aires or is she alone in Buenos Aires so far?
– They left, it is not that they did not leave me, it is that there is so much work here at the moment that I still did not get out of Buenos Aires. I hope to do it later.
– Totally. If today you had to define the link between Argentina and Israel what link would you say we have.
– A very special link I would say. Because relationships were always good, but also with complications. I can mention Eichmann's case on the one hand and I can mention the agreement with Iran that you made on the other side, and of course the attack on the Embassy and the AMIA. When I presented my credentials, I paid homage to the Embassy the next day, because I believe that each ambassador here is one more piece in the chain of ambassadors, it could have been me.
– And today you believe that the bond is strengthened, that there is a bond of trust between the two nations?
– Yes I think so. We have very good relationships.
– You bring here the theme of the Memorandum of Understanding with Iran, which caused so much discussion and so much anger on the part of the Argentine community. When do you think justice will be done with a fact that is already known who perpetrated the attack and yet does not have the sanction of Justice?
– This is the responsibility of Argentina. Justice is, in the AMIA there are 85 Argentines, and I think it is the responsibility and it has to be important for Argentina that there were two attacks here and so far, that 25 years have passed for the AMIA and 27 for the Embassy, and we still don't have Justice. How can this be?
– Does Israel look closely at the eventual change of government thinking that an administration that was precisely the one that promoted the Memorandum can take over power?
– First that is not the same. Second that changed the world. That Argentina changed, Israel changed, Iran unfortunately did not change, the United States changed, Brazil changed. The world is different. But we hope that any government that comes will follow the justice that has to reach these people. And we clearly know who is behind these attacks.
– You clearly said Iran did not change, Iran is still a state that uses terrorism as a way of, even trying to destroy Israel. I would like to hear it on this subject.
– Iran in principle is a very old culture. And the truth is that we are countries that could be friends, we also have an ancient culture. Unfortunately, Iran has a government, say, that they are not elected, but a government that wants to control the world, wants to become a world power again and tell everyone else how they have to be, they don't believe in democracy. The women there don't drive, it's crazy. They do not believe in human rights. Iran could change and it could be a democracy and it will be a fantastic democracy, but at the moment it is a terrorist country.
– It is very, to those of us who have been lucky enough to visit Israel, the contrast between a nation like Israel, with a democratic tradition, with respect for freedoms and human rights, is very strong, compared to some of its very immediate neighbors who They remain a theocracy where they apply religious law.
– Yes. Well, we are the only democracy in the Middle East and we are, we always hope that some of our neighbors are equal. But we don't get into that, they choose what they want, right? What we want is to have peace with all our neighbors, we have Egypt and Jordan, we hope to one day arrive with Lebanon and with Palestinian authority, but we are a very old people, we have time.
– What is the secret to the prosperity of Israel. If you had to describe someone who does not understand how Israel has become a power, a cradle of technological development, innovation, what is the secret of Israel.
– It's a secret, how can I tell him. No, we have several secrets. One is the Jewish tradition of always putting things in doubt. Second is we have no fear of failure. Failure is just one more step so we can get ahead. Third, we have a very varied culture, we have immigrants from all over the world, and we are a country of immigrants, although I know that there are countries that do not like immigrants, we love and embrace them. And that diversity, that's where many ideas come out when you put them together. And we also have the State that supports this. Israel has very, very high research and development support, more than 4% of GDP. Then all these things together get there.
– What does it mean that Israel is a startup nation, a startup country.
– Right there we have, you know, in total figures, I'm not talking about people figures, we are a country of 9 million. We are the second in the world with companies on the United States Stock Exchange, the first is the United States. And in total figures, not in figures per capita. Then there is always, if you are giving a hand to someone, I need here I do not know what, I will make an app for this. We see any difficulty as an opportunity.
– Maybe that's the secret.
– (Laughs) Well, it's complex.
– Sure. Very recently, Israel was once again put as an example in the fight against inflation, an evil that in Argentina is unfortunately recurrent in the last 70 years. Can it be applied? And I know that it is impossible that in a note of a few minutes you explain how it went. But I say, is there any way of teaching Israel to be applied in Argentina?
– You know that he delved a lot into this issue, he was an Argentine called Trajtenberg, who came to Israel and did a program with the government, the government really hurt people for 6 years, but we get inflation of 450% now It's a single figure, right? It's nothing. We are very stable. We totally agree to share our experience with Argentina and cooperate with Argentina on this, but lately I read an interview with Trajtenberg that he said he thinks the Israeli experience could not happen here because the culture is completely different. I always say, if you don't try how you are going to leave. And this is what makes Israel a startup nation, if you don't try how you are going to get out. So, we try, right?
– Sure. Yes, the attempt is to do it.
– Ambassador, arrives in a country where there is still no justice in a cause that hit a lot that is the death of Alberto Nisman. I would like your opinion, about the cause and the fact itself please.
– Well, Nisman is a great character. Very well known, very wise. And it is a pity that we can no longer enjoy their knowledge. We expect justice as always. We do not get into the Argentine Justice, both in the case of Nisman and in the AMIA case, as in the case of the Embassy. We do not get. We have to have faith in the Argentine Justice.
– Beyond the act of faith, do you feel that conditions are in Argentina? Is Justice independent in Argentina to get a verdict on these issues, the three issues?
– Hope so. I hope so, I don't know. I just arrived, I have less than two months here.
– Of course. Is there a characteristic of the Argentine Jewish community that differs from the Uruguayan Jewish community where you have been, from the Peruvian one? Is there anything you have perceived differently?
– As there are differences between Argentines and Uruguayans, well, not so much there, but between Peruvians and Argentines, it is not the same, because they are, the Jews who are here are Argentines. So the difference between an Argentine and a Peruvian is the same as a Jewish Argentine and a Jewish Peruvian.
– If you say, like this, on a bird's flight, just two months after arriving, the Jewish Argentines are characterized by. Do you find a distinctive note?
– To the other Argentines?
– No, to the rest of the Jews. I mean, Argentines have one more tradition in gastronomic culture or culture …
– You know it's a shame, I'm vegetarian (laughs).
– Ah, we're going to take a very bad ambassador, know it.
– Yes, I already lost weight two kilos.
– Really vegetarian?
– Not vegan, vegetarian.
– Since I am 14 years old.
– And what happened to him that had that problem.
– (laughs). It is a fair choice, I see it that way. I grew up, was born and grew up in a kibbutz and there you have the little animals loose.
– And I can't eat my friend the cow, who had a name, they had names there. No, no, it was one of not eating anymore.
– No, it was a no decision. If I'm not indiscreet, can you tell me a little about your life? By the way, in which kibbutz was born.
– I was born in kibbutz Ramat Hashofet, which is a kibbutz from Hashomer Hatzair, which is more socialist. I was raised, at that time the children live together in what is called a children's house and we went to the parents' house only four hours a day. We also slept in the children's house. From four to eight we were in the parents' house, then we returned to the children's house. And that gave me a lot of independence, because the adults were not there all the time, so the things that children do when they are alone are sometimes hard, but good. So I grew up there, I went to the United States for three years, that they worked there, we returned to the kibbutz later and well, I made the army as everyone does in Israel. Then I went to the university, within the army and the university I took a year and a half to get to know Asia, a tour, to relax. And then I went back to university, I did a BAC, then I did a master's degree in microbiology, which today is called genetics, but at the time it was …
– I worked in the development, development and I do not remember how it is, of an American company that has its development in Israel, we just took advantage of this power to invent things and not take the impossible as something that exists. And from there they called me from the Foreign Ministry. More or less, it's a …
– That's the quick summary. Today the phenomenon, well, I'm 55 years old …
– I will be gallant and …
– No, no, it seems much less, really. But I say, in my childhood and in my youth the kibbutz was like an aspiration, like a phenomenon of the new way of social organization very admired. Today, 2019 almost 2020 what is a kibbutz, what does a kibbutz mean.
– Almost no longer exist in the previous form. In the way that I met when I grew up. It was one, the truth was a socialist farm, right? But the human being does not want to share things so much. Of course, as a girl, we have no private, nothing. Even our clothes within a year passed to another and we received from the other. But we had one, what's his name, I don't know how to say this in Spanish, something where we put the books we are reading there, we gather, I don't know, stones, things like that, if someone touched this part that was private oops, oops, oops ( laughs) And we had nothing there, they were stones and nothing, and leaves. So it seems that the human being wants, and nobody had anything. Then there was the idea of being rich or being poor. But we as children already know that it is very important to say good, this is mine. No one touches this that is mine. So the human being is apparently not socialist.
– It seems, experience has shown that there are at least serious difficulties for it to be, right?
– And your utopia, what is your utopia ambassador? What dreams, what is your dream?
– Well, peace in the world, right? Peace in the world. Peace for Israel May everyone's quality of life be equal and good. That there is equality for all of us, no matter if they are, I do not know, women, men, LGBT, whatever, we are all equal, I believe that all human beings are equal. As a biologist I can tell you that we are all the same.
– That can assure you.
– How religion plays in you. Is he a religious person?
– No, I'm not religious. But I do belong to the Jewish people, that being Jewish is not just religion, it is also a nationality. And we have, just just celebrated, yesterday, Yom Kippur which is the Day of Forgiveness, which is the most sacred day for the Jews. That is interesting, within the new year of ours until Yom Kippur, until the Day of Forgiveness, there are ten days. And in these ten days you have time to apologize to all who did them wrong. They have to forgive. The last day, and only the last day, is to ask God for forgiveness. Because the goddess or the god, I don't know, I could only forgive things that are between the human being and him or her, everything else is between us. Then nine days to forgive each other and one day for who is up.
– Again the question deserves hours and hours of answer, but I will do the same, what it is to be Jewish today.
– Each one defines it for himself. But Judaism comes from a very long tradition and, for example, to celebrate Yom Kippur. For example, to think that we have a responsibility, which in the worker is called (0: 17: 16.4), that we have to improve the world, this is our duty. That each person has responsibility for the other. All this is in the Bible the truth, and we all believe in this. The Jewish tradition, on this is based much on the modern western culture, of being fair, of being honest. Look at the Old Testament, it is the basis of what we believe today.
– How much in the world in general, I think of the attack on the synagogue in Germany yesterday, the day before yesterday, and in Argentina in particular, anti-Semitism is still alive.
– Unfortunately it seems that it is growing. Look, the DAIA released a week, two weeks ago, information that grew here in Argentina in 107% of anti-Semitism only in the last year. And when they ask me what you do against anti-Semitism, I say we? Why is it us? The Jews are Argentine. Argentines are the ones who have to take into account what is happening here and it is something against everyone, it is not only against the Jews, it is against humanity to do such things, to discriminate. What happened in Germany, that they are killing a person, what happened in the AMIA, is something that hurts the world. And it is the responsibility of the world to fight this terrible thing.
– Do you notice an atmosphere of intolerance in general in Argentine politics? You will already be familiar with the expression "the crack" in our country. How does that ambassador live?
– Look, as I said, my vision is the equality of all. We are far from this also in Israel. But we have to fight for this and we have to do everything we can for this. One way to do it is with the economy. If we improve the economy I am sure that we will shrink the crack. And I want to say that Israel and Argentina have a lot to share and are complementary economies the truth. And we started with this, I'm glad that my predecessors have done a lot, and before coming to any mission every ambassador has to set three goals that he or she wants to accomplish, the first one I set was to improve economic relations, and we are already in the way. For example, a month ago they opened an Israeli-Argentine joint venture, a factory, for pipes. And also an Israeli company bought a digital company, a software here, for some millions, but the Argentines who are there, who are thirty or so, are still working. So this was the first goal I set.
The second goal I set was that the young people of the two countries are going to know each other better. (Cough) Excuse me.
– Because the future is with them. You already have 55, I 54, the future is not with us anymore, but if people know each other, they look at each other by the eye, if they share a meal, there relations between peoples grow. I believe a lot in this.
And the other one I am not going to tell her.
– No. Because it's not very serious.
– It's what amuses me the most. That is, it is the one that interests me most.
– Well, secretly huh. I want to meet football.
– Do you want to know Argentina's football?
– He won't be able to do it. Impossible. There are two things that cannot be understood about Argentina, Peronism and football. I would almost tell him to try Peronism. But what do you want to know about football?
– First I want to go to the court. I had invitations for October 1, but unfortunately I already had another commitment. Now I will go to 22 I hope.
– To the Superclassic, of course.
– Yes. At least to see how it is, right? Because they told me it is …
– It is a unique phenomenon. If you want, well, now it is complicated, but in reality, I am from the city of Rosario, which I hope you can visit, where there is an active, numerous and etc. Jewish collective, etc., the football classic between the two teams, which They are Newell´s and Central, it is much hotter than Boca and River. But all right, boot for that. Do you have sympathy for any team?
– No, I am for the national teams, I am diplomatic, right? (Laughs)
– It's fine, it's very good. Did you have any contact with Alberto Fernández, the candidate of the Frente de Todos? Or still could not interview?
– No, not yet. And besides, I am, I repeat, I don't even have two months here. I'm starting with my official appointments and I start with a government, and then we'll see.
– How were your meetings with President Macri.
– Very short but very friendly. He started "how is my friend Bibi".
– That is also, well, we are done with the elections, we still do not know which government.
– We still have to form a government.
– That, which can be seen as an instability, say, in the parliamentary systems, which arise from there, how Israel sees this uncertainty of who is going to form a government. Who is going to make an alliance with whom.
– As in Italy, we live the same way. Life is good, it would be better if we have a fixed government. It is the first time we had two elections, one behind the other. Likewise, all Israeli governments were coalitions.
– It was always, almost none of them almost completed the four years he has to do. Very few completed. Then we are used to it.
– Sure. No, Italy takes advantage of them because it is every 15 minutes that they have to form a government.
– Yes. The same in Italy, life is good.
– Yeah right. Yeah right. Is there anything I did not ask you that you would like to tell ambassador in this first meeting? I hope it is repeated and much. Is there anything I have not asked you?
– (laughs). How is it going.
– Well, a little sick but beyond this well. Thank you.
– Did you imagine this experience of coming to Argentina? Did it generate an expectation of what kind to come to Argentina?
– Well, I came here to work. And I'm working too much, that's why I'm sick I think (laughs). I really have to tell in secret, right? That until now I was only in a restaurant, because a restaurant, again, here you take the food very seriously.
– And I was in a restaurant for about three hours. And in three hours you can make three appointments in (0: 25: 10.0) right?
– I was only once in a restaurant (laughs).
– But I will have time.