Ze'ev Bielski has a long and rich career as a public figure. He is a former Knesset member (Kadima party, 2009-2013) and current (2nd time) Ra'anana mayor (the Knesset is the Israeli parliament and Ra'anana is a city in Central Israel not far from Tel Aviv).
During Mr. Bielski's first tenure as the mayor of Ra’anana (my home town) he really transformed it into the jewel it is now.
Mr. Bielski (affectionately known as Zeevik) also served as the chairman of the Jewish Agency, and was active in countless other fields including education, local municipalities, sports, drug education and prevention (and the list goes on and on). Most importantly he is just a great guy.
Here is a short interview I conducted with him around 2009.
1. Thank you Mr. Bielski for granting me this interview. As a Tzabar (someone born and raised in Israel) who was born and raised in the city of Jerusalem, what are your favorite tourist attractions in the city?
In Jerusalem the most important site to me is the Western Wall.
2. How do you think Israel should market itself to potential tourists around the world? Or in other words what are the strong points you would use to convince people to come visit Israel?
In addition to the Western Wall (Kotel) there are holy places in Jerusalem for both Christians and Muslims. I believe that the day will come when Jerusalem will attract more than 10 million tourists. The subject of religion does not receive its proper priority as a factor that attracts tourists to Israel.
3. Where was the last place you vacationed in Israel with your family?
We stayed at a zimmer in the Galilee. (A zimmer is a German word. In Israel it means staying in an upscale bed and breakfast – usually in a beautiful rural setting).
4. As a former Knesset member what law do you think should be passed to significantly increase the amount of tourists that arrive in Israel?
I would try to bring about a law that would establish a special police force in the major areas that are Israel’s tourist attractions.
5. And finally, as the former chairman of the Jewish Agency, what word of advice do you have for Jewish people who are debating if they should make Aliyah or not? Or, how do you convince people to come live in Israel?
The state of Israel is the home of the Jewish people. This is where our Jewish identity will be kept, and this is where we will build our only Jewish state.
You can follow Zeevik or Mr. Bielski on his Facebook page (in Hebrew).
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