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Talmud and Regional Woes Connect South Korea and Israel

Ilsoo Kim, South Korean Ambassador to Israel, tells Arutz Sheva of the similarities between the two countries.
By Yoni Kempinski & Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/6/2012, 11:16 AM

Ilsoo Kim, South Korean Ambassador to Israel, told Arutz Sheva at the third annual Conference for Business with Korea this week that the two countries have more in common than most may think.

Korea and Israel have great potential for cooperation, he said "because there are many similarities in experience between the two countries. We can work together and understand each other."

Kim noted that the two countries were born in the same year as modern states – 1948. Also, he said, both South Korea and Israel are surrounded by tough neighborhood. With neighbors like Russia, Japan, China and North Korea, and US troops stationed in South Korea, Seoul is not much better off than Israel, as far as friendly neighbors are concerned.  

However, said Kim, this adversity is in reality a blessing in disguise, and the two nations have been quite successful in changing adverse environment into advantage.

He confirmed that books with pearls of wisdom from the Talmud are very popular among young parents in South Korea, because "they want their children to be maybe one day Nobel prize winners" like so many Jews are.

"I want to expose Korea more to the Israeli public," explained the ambassador. "Korea is a big missing link in your knowledge of Southeast Asia." It is not just a country that produces mobile phones and automobiles, he added, but also an ancient culture with natural beauty and also hospitable people.