Meet our man in Tel Aviv – progress report

August 6, 2013 by J-Wire
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Meet Dave Sharma, Australia’s new ambassador to Israel.

Before leaving Australia for Tel Aviv, Dave Sharma tackled the difficult problem of getting some Ivrit under his belt.

He told J-Wire: “I just wanted basic survival Hebrew…enough for some social interaction and of course for day to day matters such as hopping and restaurants.”

The beachside life offered in Tel Aviv where the embassy is located and in Herzliya Petuach where the ambassador lives suits this outdoor loving diplomat to a tee. He said: “I grew up in Sydney and love outdoor sports especially tennis, running and cycling. I love getting down to wonderful places like Neve Tzedek and Yafo.”

The historical side of Israel also holds fascination for the youngest ambassador in the Australian diplomatic corps. 37-yr-old Sharma told J-Wire he is enjoying visiting archaeological digs. He told J-Wire: “I visited the spot where David and Goliath fought. There is a major dig taking place there at the moment and it was astonishing to see.”

The 37-year-old recently took up his first ambassadorial posting accompanied by his wife Rachel and three children Diana 6, Estella 4, and Daphne 4 months.

He told J-Wire he was amazed at the diversity of life in Israel. “I am one who appreciates the diversity that multiculturalism provides and as rich as it is in Australia, it is amazing to see here. Within Israel the cultures of the Druze, the Arabs and the Bedouin are very much alive.”

He is also impressed with the way public debate thrives in Israel. “In the Press, all spectrums of opinion, both domestic and international, thrive. It makes for interesting reading”.

Dave Sharma told J-Wire that he found the memorial service for the four Australians who died in the Maccabiah tragedy “very moving”. The ceremony took place shortly before the opening of the Maccabiah late last month which the ambassador attended.

He is thrilled with his new appointment…his first as an ambassador. “This is a diplomatically challenging position and represents one of Australia’s more important relationships” Sharma told J-Wire.

HE said that members of parliament follow closely what is happening in Australia . He said: “Over the years, Australia has been involved in most of the conflicts in this region and I am well aware of the links to our role in the foundation of Israel.

With a very full diary on his desk, Dave Sharma found time to make his first visit to Jerusalem. “It was overwhelming. From corner to corner , there is something to see. It was like the rings of an onion.”

For the sports-loving Sharma, Israel will present a huge challenge as he confronts in what he describes as “an turbulent, unstable region” diplomatic involvement in commerce, culture, human rights.


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