Kea network in Israel


New Zealander Josh Brown, now living in Tel Aviv is the founder of the NZ Israel Innovation Hub. He brings us this Kea Report.

Kea, Kiwi’s global community, is one of the world’s largest and most successful expat networks with representation in many countries around the world.  The community has over 500,000 members and is supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other private and public agencies. Its stated objective is to build and maintain a diverse and vibrant community of Kiwis and friends of New Zealand, who share a strong passion for New Zealand and the success of its people and businesses.

A wreath laid on behalf of Kea New Zealand.

On the 31st of October, Kea ambassador Ben Cohen together with Isaac Treister of the Israel New Zealand Friendship Association, laid a wreath in memory of the ANZACs who fell in 1917 in the battle to capture Beersheba. This pivotal battle helped turn the tide of war in favour of the British Empire during World War 1.

In all there were three ceremonies during the days. The first at 10 am at The Park for the Australian Soldier with the amazing life size of “an Australian Light horseman” sculpture by well-known Australian sculptor Peter Corlett, providing shade for the ceremony.

The second ceremony was at the Turkish memorial and a tribute to the many Ottoman soldiers who fell during the battle.  During the ceremony, emphasis was given to the emergence of a new chapter of peace between Israel and the Muslim world. Importantly, it was made clear that peace should never be taken for granted and it is incumbent upon current generations to remember the price of war.

The final wreath laying ceremony at the British ANZAC cemetery included a full catafalque party. It was an emotional ceremony in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. New Zealand was additionally represented by the new honorary consul, Isaac Bentwitch.

After the ceremony, there was a tour of the fascinating ANZAC museum which includes an exhibition telling the stories of the soldiers and the battles through movie and sound. For Kiwi touring the area, this is a must for anyone wanting to know more about this amazing story and its huge significance for modern day Israel.

A Kea coffee catch-up with the Ambassador.

On the 4th of November, the non-resident Ambassador to Israel, Zoe Coulson Sinclair, addressed Kiwi expats and Israeli friends of New Zealand in Tel Aviv.  It was a great honour to host the Ambassador Zoe Coulson-Sinclair who was in Israel for the first time as part of her visit to present her credentials to President Isaac Herzog.

The Ambassador discussed the relationship between Israel and Aotearoa, the work of the New Zealand embassy in Türkiye (which serves Israel), the cooperation between Israel and New Zealand on issues ranging from economic growth to curbing the climate crisis, and the role of the Kea network.

This was Kea’s second event in Israel with a great turnout of more than thirty individuals. In attendance were a number of esteemed guests including Honorary Consul of New Zealand to Israel, Isaac Bentwich, former Israeli ambassador to New Zealand and current Honorary Consul of Samoa, Nissan Krupsky, New Zealand venture capitalist Benjamin Weiss, Bridgit Hawkins and Eitan Dan of CropX, and Michael Hirsh of Cipia.

The meetup was a great opportunity for Kiwi and New Zealand minded locals to network and share their ideas about the New Zealand–Israel relationship. Perspectives on the countries’ historical ties, joint business ventures, high-tech sectors, and expat communities resulted in an insightful group discussion.