Israel has quietly reopened its embassy in Wellington, New Zealand, after an eight-year hiatus that took effect because of budget considerations but was highlighted by frosty relations triggered by a false passport issue.
New Zealand’s government initially did not even announce the location of the new embassy in order to avoid planned protests by pro-Arab groups. New Zealand’s new Israeli ambassador is Shemi Tzur, who is to present his credentials to New Zealand's Governor-General on May 7.
The embassy will take over matters that have been administered by Israel’s embassy in Australia the past eight years.
In 2004, New Zealand caught two Mossad agents trying to illegally obtain local passports, resulting in the suspension of high-profiled diplomatic relations between the two countries until Israel apologized the following year.
The current prime of New Zealand is John Key, who is Jewish, but the local Jewish community said it was not even aware of the reopening of the embassy,
Although the new embassy address now has been posted on New Zealand’s government website, there is no recognition of the country’s embassy office in Tel Aviv. It states, “New Zealand has representation (embassies, consulates and other offices) in the following [Middle East] countries and territories:
“Islamic Republic of Iran - also covers Afghanistan; Egypt; Saudi Arabia - also covers Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates; Turkey - also covers Jordan and Israel Embassy. Israel is not listed separately New Zealand operates its embassy in Tel Aviv.