Mark Regev: Israel's Modern Story
Has been in post since April twenty sixteen prior to that he was the chief spokesman for the Prime Minister of Israel. A position he held for eight years. He joined Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nineteen Ninety seven his deputy chief of mission of the Consulate General in Hong Kong and spokesman at the Israeli Embassy in Beijing. He also served a spokesman at the embassy in DC and he was the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem from two thousand and four to two thousand and seven. He also said as a combat soldier in the whole brigade the idea originally from Melbourne Australia. Mock Fry bug as he wants back then moved to Israel as a twenty two year old no significant family or contacts his progress to embassador shows. How flat Israeli society is. This is one of a number of Israeli related episodes in the series of Johnny Goad Jewish. State scroll down to find biographer of Lord Balfour and the historian of the decades leading up to the formation of the state of Israel. Lord Leslie Turn Bug that's episode the Teen and life in Shin Bets with its former chief Yaacov Peri. That's episode ten so his ambassador again have and we started by unpacking that Australian background. Who is the way out of this world competition belief against me? It's not a competition and busted a regular. Thank you very much feel time and agreeing to the interview today. Here on Johnny Jewish state. I'm happy to be with you so now. Your background. Which is very interesting. I think to the Anglo Saxon. Speaking world of jewelry is that you're Australian correct. I was born in Melbourne Australia. In nineteen sixty and my father was born in Australia. He was a what they call in Australia. Postwar refugee he was a survivor dollar cost originally born in Germany. My Mother's family. She was born in Australia. They were Polish Jews who were lucky enough smart enough to get out of the nineteen twenties and they They arrived in Australia. I think even the last year of that decade and I remember my grandmother always saying that. Save the family. Had they stayed in Poland their fate would have been the fate of Polish Jews which was not good. And how did they Australia? Unity family story so I know on on both sides on my mother's side. My grandfather was on a train some going from Poland to Germany where he was studying engineering. Things were pretty GLIMP- for Jews in Poland in the nineteen twenties and he read an article in a magazine that Australia is the country of the future on the other on the German side of the family. I think after the Holocaust people say what is the furtherest place away from Europe Austria qualified. Freiburg was the family name Going back to the rations my head this thing at the age of twenty one I had. I said these people tried to kill us. Do I really want to German. Name for the rest of my life retrospectively. Now I know I made a mistake because I I very. He never said anything to me. But I offended my father very greatly but at the time at the age of twenty one twenty two when I did it. I was convinced that this was the right thing to do. I'm aware of how Ashkenazim took on the name of the town where they came from and of course a lot of the early. Zionists took their Ashkenazi names and totally he. Bray is did correct David. Ben-gurion is probably the prime example. I Prime Minister Shamir also Menachem Begin. Correct having said that though I suppose it was if it was part of me becoming an Israeli though. Part of what you said isn't correct. 'cause Freiburg the place in Germany is U. R. G. And my family was always. Rg so I'm not sure. It was connected to that physical location in Germany. Look when you head. Brewer is a name different ways of doing it so Freiberg is in English. It's free and Burgers mountain so I could have taken the Hebrew accrued of innocent played with that and I did and nothing successful came out but I was going out at the time with a woman who was studying literature at the Hebrew University. And she said you can also do it by playing with the letters so Freiberg in Hebrew is pay raise bait and you can play with the letters and rig of came out very nicely. Well I think it's It was an intriguing name when I first came across all those years ago. I'm glad to this question. Lazy Lane so now being an Anglo Saxon speaker is a real asset to Israel in the modern media world to explain Israel across borders to billions of people. Whose language is. It's their mother tongue or their second. Language is a huge asset. And something if I might say that has been quite a glaring omission from Israel's diplomatic mission in early years of the Jewish state so I think if you look at the people who held the position that I hold now we've had some English speakers of native born English speakers and And those Israelis who held the role of also had mother tongue English run persona had still has of course grading this. He is the son of a diplomat himself and as a result he went to school abroad. And so. But you're right I think The ability to speak English at mother tongue is a crucial element. If you want to successfully make the case for Israeli and international audiences it is a prerequisite but in itself. It's not enough like I sometimes made in my previous job in Israel when I was the spokesman for the prime minister is to meet a young immigrants with mother tongue English mark. I'd like a job like yours. How do I get it right and I would explain to them so good? English is important. But it's as I say it's a necessary prerequisite but it's not in itself enough. You have to know the issues backwards. You have to read everything that is relevant. After the politics you have to know the history you have to understand the issues and I think that is just as important if not more important than having a strong command of the language because he my early teens. I used to despair at some of these really politicians who were fairly Broosk in their approach and even their attire to media interviews with the BBC and others. I don't think that really helped. So this new generation I think led by the Prime Minister himself who speaks in. I think the best way to describe these fluent American. Well I believe. The current prime minister did grow up in Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and his father was a visiting professor and he he he grew up there returning to Israel to do. His Army Service is to mother tongue languages. He had both burning which is a marvellous advantage to have and but I think to be over. Critical of the founding generation because that founding generation includes people like our Evan who was an amazing spokesman for his very articulate People say that he's speeches. Go down in history as some of the most awful speeches in English in the twentieth century thousands of years ago a people land language came together in Israel birth and the cost of Man's life and thought was lifted to a new point of elevation. Then for centuries this pattern was split asunder. The people the land of the language were separated and tragedy and danger befell of the mall separated each from the other. None of these three achieved the creative potent sit which they each knew when they lived together. What IS MODERN ISRAEL? Except the reunion of this people land and language in the sublime fulfillment of history cycle a bridge thrown across the Gulf of continents and generations to symbolize the unity ofo historic experienced. Many people will know you from your competitive interviews with snow during the Gaza offenses being the media spokesman for the prime minister a hugely different communications brief to that of being an ambassador. I was arrested by that idea that when you became the ambassador it was a completely different communications brief almost a different personality from the attack dog to John. Snow on on media so being spokesman I had responsibility over specific areas and as ambassador. You have a much more general responsibility as spokesman. My job was to make sure that the people in international audiences understand Israeli government behavior is government policy and so forth and so that was done through communications as ambassador. That's part of your job as well but you have many other facets economic relationship cultural ties government to government discussions. Him obviously as ambassador. I'M STILL THE PUBLIC FACE FOR ISRAEL. I will do interviews. I will give talks. I will brief and so forth but A. I'm also doing things as ambassador that were not part of my portfolio when I was the government spokesperson. It's a more broad range of of job.