Blair turns to Heifetz as key peace ad­viser

Out­go­ing am­bas­sador called in to aid Mid­dle East mis­sion

The Jewish Chronicle - - Front Page - BY DANIELLA PELED FOR­EIGN ED­I­TOR

TONY BLAIR, the Quar­tet’s en­voy to the Mid­dle East, is to ap­point Zvi Heifetz, the out­go­ing Is­raeli am­bas­sador to Lon­don, as a spe­cial ad­viser, the JC has learned.

Mr Heifetz, who ends his term next week af­ter three-and-a-half years in Lon­don, will ad­vise the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter on a wide range of is­sues re­lat­ing to his mis­sion to help the Pales­tini­ans build strong eco­nomic and gov­ern­men­tal in­sti­tu­tions.

Mr Heifetz told the JC: “I think it is a huge priv­i­lege. The re­spon­si­bil­ity to give proper ad­vice to such a great man as Tony Blair is an enor­mous hon­our.

“I will use all my knowl­edge, skills, ex­pe­ri­ence and con­tacts in or­der to help him in his work, which in my eyes is one of the ma­jor routes to achiev­ing peace in the Mid­dle East.

“I com­plete my term in Lon­don on Novem­ber 14 and I will be ready to start the next day.”

No date has been set for Mr Heifetz to be­gin his new role, but Mr Blair’s spokesman said he was sure that the two men “will be meet­ing or cer­tainly talk­ing again soon”.

He con­tin­ued: “Tony has asked Zvi to keep in touch and give ad­vice on Is­raeli is­sues. They have built up a good re­la­tion­ship work­ing to­gether. Zvi is some­one who Tony re­spects and wants to stay in touch with.”

Al­though this will not be a for­mal ap- point­ment, the 50-year-old Mr Heifetz said he would draw on his own ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in the po­lit­i­cal, mil­i­tary, me­dia and busi­ness worlds in as­sist­ing Mr Blair.

The­formerLabourlead­er­an­nounced he would be­come the latest en­voy for the Quar­tet — made up of the United States, the Euro­pean Union, Rus­sia and the United Na­tions — within hours of step­ping down as Prime Min­is­ter in June this year.

He is tasked with aid­ing the Pales­tini­ans on is­sues of gov­er­nance, eco­nomics and se­cu­rity, as well as mo­bil­is­ing the in­ter­na­tional donor com­mu­nity.

Mr Heifetz, who was born in Siberia and grew up in Latvia, made aliyah to Is­rael at the age of 14.

He spent seven years in mil­i­tary intelligence and worked as a lawyer be­fore em­bark­ing on a highly suc­cess­ful ca­reer in me­dia busi­ness.

He­be­camevice-chair­manoftheMaariv Group in 1999 and the chair­man of both the Hed-Arzi Mu­sic Pro­duc­tion Com­pany and Tower Records Is­rael in 2001.

A close friend of Omri Sharon, the son of the for­mer Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ariel Sharon, Mr Heifetz was also well con­nected to for­mer For­eign Min­is­ter Sil­van Shalom.

In 2004, Mr Heifetz was one of the 11 po­lit­i­cal ap­pointees se­lected an­nu­ally for for­eign po­si­tions, and be­came the youngest-ever Is­raeli am­bas­sador to the UK.

Zvi Heifetz

PHO­TOS: JOHN RIFKIN

Tony Blair

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