Yuri Bocharov: "Natives of Azerbaijan occupy in Israel leading positions in many spheres"
The Israeli political scientist and petroleum engineer Yury Bocharov told Vestnik Kavkaza about the ties with Azerbaijan preserved and developed by Israel.
- How is Azerbaijan assessed in Israel today?
- Azerbaijan is a strategic partner for Israel. This word is used by our politicians of any level. The trade turnover between Israel and Azerbaijan is one of the largest in comparison with other CIS countries. Almost a third of Israel's oil needs are provided by Azerbaijan. At the same time, Azerbaijan is the flagship of our relations with the Muslim world. Although we have agreements on friendship with Egypt, Jordan and a number of countries, but against the backdrop of all these countries, Azerbaijan stands apart because of our close relations.
- What is the role of repatriates from Azerbaijan in the preservation and strengthening of the Azerbaijani-Israeli contacts?
- Everyone who was born and raised in Azerbaijan, in Baku, like me, absorbed the Baku mentality in their childhood. I mean their attitude to the elders, to parents, to children. When we left for Israel, it didn't go away. We are trying to pass this inner state of mind to our children, and it helps us to keep in touch with our friends, relatives and acquaintances who stayed in Azerbaijan. The connection between our diaspora (almost 80 thousand people) with the homeland is internal, spiritual. The Azerbaijani-Israeli International Association has invested heavily in support of these relations, in defending Azerbaijan's position in Israel, in particular with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in the recognition of the 'Armenian genocide'. This is our support on the emotional, on the inner level. Naturally, we always help those who come from Azerbaijan. We try to show them our country as best we can and contribute to the development of political, economic and cultural relations between our countries. Our aliyah from Baku, from Azerbaijan does a lot to maintain cultural ties between our countries.
- How significant are Azerbaijani immigrants for the life of Israel?
- The mass repatriation occurred in the 1990's. Now we have separate cases. 1 million 250 thousand people have come to Israel from the CIS countries for the past 25 years. Today every fourth in Israel speaks Russian. Against this background, 80 thousand arrived from Azerbaijan is a drop in the ocean. But many people from Baku have made significant progress in Israel. There are leading experts. I will not praise myself and my boss, but we are both natives of Baku, and we are heading the oil production and development department of Israel's Ministry of Energy. All the gas found today in Israel is our doing also.. There are leading lawyers. There are leading doctors who occupy the heading positions in clinics. We have two largest chemical enterprises, oil refineries, where many people from Baku work in leading positions. That is, we are everywhere. Our aliyah, albeit small, but we are, as they say, in the ministry and in the bazaar.
- In which humanitarian areas can Russian-Israeli cooperation be developed most effectively?
- The Azerbaijani-Israeli International Association regularly organizes events related to Azerbaijani national holidays. We also celebrate the funeral dates, January events and the Khojaly tragedy. We invite Israeli-Azerbaijani artists, musicians, performers. Someone performs for money, but most of them do it for free just to pay respects. Trying to raise the reputation of Azerbaijan, to give more information about it in Israel, we work with the presidential administration, the Diaspora Committee and other organizations. For example, we send Israeli journalists to Azerbaijan for tours. The people who spent a week in the republic, saw Baku and the regions of Azerbaijan, looked at all these delights, write differently. Recently, there have been more journalists, who talk with encouragement about the opportunities of Azerbaijani tourism, about the beauties they saw, about the opportunities they felt.
- In which economic areas can Azerbaijani-Israeli cooperation be most mutually beneficial?
- Israel still follows the capitalist development path, so we have state structures and private structures. If we are talking about government structures, basically there are two levels - petrochemicals, the oil we buy, and the weapons we sell. These are contacts at the state level, at the level of state structures and state companies. All other contacts, and there are a lot of them, go through private companies. I know that our private companies have worked in security, road construction, automation, computerization, and on individual projects related to petrochemicals. Private companies usually do not advertise their activities. The governments of both countries helped them to establish contacts, they are satisfied, they work, pay taxes and try to keep the state away from them - this is business. But I think that Israel's opportunities are not much used by Azerbaijani businessmen, because in most areas Israel is ahead of the whole planet. Not only in computers, chemistry and hi-tech. If use it, you can immediately jump one or two steps higher. If Azerbaijani business structures worked more in this direction, sent delegations here to exchange experience more often, familiarizing them with our opportunities, it would be of great benefit to the republic.