JERUSALEM – There are countries that are frequently in the news in Israel, such as the US, the UK, Russia, India and China, and those that seldom appear unless that country is undergoing political strife or martial war, such as Myanmar. Among the lesser publicized countries is Sri Lanka, which has had a somewhat turbulent relationship with Israel, having initially established bilateral relations in 1956. These relations were suspended in the 1970s during the second term of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, when Sri Lanka and the Maldives were among the few first countries to recognize a Palestinian state. Sri Lanka almost invariably votes in favour of the Palestinians at the United Nations.
Relations with Israel were restored in 2000, although there had been contacts in the interim.
Israel helped in the training of Sri Lanka’s armed forces in their battle with the Tamil Liberation Tigers (LTTE), and also sold military equipment to Sri Lanka. Israel also helped Sri Lanka update its agricultural production methods.
In November 1986, President Chaim Herzog, in the course of a three weeks visit to Australia, Asia and the Pacific, paid a surprise rapprochement visit to Sri Lanka, which had not been among the countries on his schedule. Journalists travelling with Herzog were informed of their destination just before the plane landed.
Sri Lanka is also among those countries which have re-opened its gates to foreign tourists. Full details of the safety protocols applying to passengers have been published by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and can be accessed online at srilanka.travel/helloagain.
Meanwhile, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Israel together with the Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce, Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, and the Board of Investment (BoI) of Sri Lanka, will host a webinar at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday (16), aimed at introducing Israeli entrepreneurs to investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Participants will include: Ambassador Waruna Wilpatha, Honorary Consul for Israel in Sri Lanka Wick Wickramatunga, Deputy Director of Sri Lanka’s Investment Promotion BoI Sudat Jayesakar, Executive Director of Investment Promotion BoI Prasanjith Wijayatilake, and Director of Investment Promotion BoI Nilupul De Silva. Webinar Registration is with the Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce.