Blair turns to Heifetz as key peace adviser
Outgoing ambassador called in to aid Middle East mission
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.