The nature of Israel as a time and tested democracy in the Middle East and with a seventy year sentence of death and destruction over it by its political and religious enemies, and the history of Holocaust, the nation has never been in any mood to press its own self destruct button or anything that might lead to such a calamity.
Recently, New Zealand is once again enjoying the fruits of an Israeli Embassy and this is major news after it was closed in 2002 due to financial difficulties.
If you travel in Israel, you will know that the statistics do not lie – the number of New Zealand visitors is the highest on a per capita basis. One can hear their distinctive accents in all the popular 'Bible land' tourist spots.
Due to the Christian background of New Zealand settlers, and their propensity to take long holidays when they travel, (like Australians do), to maximise the value of the air fares and long flight times, one of the most visited places for New Zealanders is Israel, largely through Holy Land Tours.
New Zealanders had access to Israeli affairs through Canberra in Australia, as Israel had an office in Wellington (New Zealand's capital city) but it functioned as a branch of the Israeli embassy in Canberra, under the control of Israel's Ambassador to Australia, Nati Tamir.
Then Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, announced his intentions to reopen the Israeli embassy in New Zealand to full service as soon as such a move would be financially feasible for Israel. Current Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered that full diplomatic activities be renewed at the embassy in Wellington.
Ambassador Shemi Tzur, Israel's new ambassador to New Zealand, has now presented his credentials last month (Friday May 7) to the Governor General of New Zealand, and officially open the new Embassy on New Zealand soil after a welcome ceremony that included a traditional Maori nose-pressing ceremony.
"In the ceremony, they check if the visitors come in peace or in war," explained Tzur. "There is a kind of war dance at the end of which they come close to you and place a knife on the ground. You raise the knife and look into the eyes of the person who laid it on the ground. Then it is understood that you come in peace."
"You get close to one another, shake hands, and press your noses together. The ceremony is called 'hongi.' The breath mingles together to show that it is a meeting between friends seeking peace. There is nothing more moving than this with the flag of Israel waiving to the sound of cheers," said Tzur.
Isreali Foreign Ministry spokesman, Yossi Levy, commented that New Zealand is once again hosting the Israeli Embassy. There are many advantages, not least for this large Holy Land tourist industry to Israel.
He concluded: "The reopening of the embassy heralds a new, optimist page. It will push both countries forward. The consular agreement signed prior to this allows young people to travel and work in both places."
This will be a wonderful help for all those New Zealanders travelling to Israel, particularly those on 'Holy Land' tours.