Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the State of Israel were established on April 10, 1992.
Consulate and then the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Israel started functioning in May 1996. The Ambassadors of Kazakhstan in Israel were Mrs.Byrganym Aitimova (January 1997 – June 2002), Mr. Kairat Abdrakhmanov (May 2003 - March 2006), Mr.Vadim Zverkovhas (June 2006 – March 2008). On April 16, 2008 Mr.Galym Orazbakov was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the State of Israel.
The Embassy of Israel in Kazakhstan was opened in August 1992. Since September 2006Mr. Ran Ishai has been the Ambassador of Israel in Kazakhstan.
The legal base of the Kazakhstan-Israeli relations is made up of 27 bilateral documents. Now there are drafts of inter-governmental agreements about avoidance of double taxation, about cooperation on education, in the field of innovative activity, on standardization, metrology and certification, on struggle against illegal circulation of drug substances on consideration of the sides.
Kazakhstan in the framework of relations with Israel gives paramount value and priority to expand and to deepen mutually beneficial trade, economic, investment and technical cooperation.
The initial stage of the development of the bilateral relations between the two countries was characterized by intensive exchange of visits with the purpose to establish political contacts between the leaderships of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the State of Israel, to define the potential and ways of developing mutually beneficial cooperation.
The Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Vice-Prime Ministers and Heads of some Ministries and Regional Administrations (1992), the Chairman of the Supreme Council (1995), Minister of Foreign Affairs (participation in the funeral of the Prime Minister of the State of Israel Y.Rabin, November, 1995) visited Israel from the Kazakhstani side. The Israeli Minister of Science and Economy (1993), Minister of Energy (1993), military delegation led by the Director General of the Ministry of Defense (1995), Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres (August, September 1995) paid the official visits to Kazakhstan. In December, 1993 the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev met Israeli President H. Herzog in Almaty. The agreements to establish the Joint Governmental Commission, on cooperation in the field of telecommunications, air communication, science and technologies, cultural cooperation, tourism and on consultations between Ministries of Foreign Affairs were signed during those visits.
Israelis taking participation in the process of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which for the first time has been initiated by the President of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbayev at 47-th session of General Assembly of the United Nations in October, 1992. In the First CICA summit which was taken place on June, 3-4, 2002 in Almaty, Israel has been presented by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Housing and Construction Mr. Nathan Sharansky.
The Kazakh-Israeli relations have received a significant impulse in December, 1995, during the first official visit of President N.Nazarbayev to Israel. Within the framework of that visit the strong legal base has been incorporated and priority spheres of the bilateral cooperation have been determined. The negotiations carried out between the Heads of the states and signing the Declaration on Bases of Mutual Relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the State of Israel determined the basic directions of mutually beneficial cooperation. In development of achieved arrangements the intergovernmental agreements on encouragement and mutual protection of investments, cooperation in the field of public health services and medicine, cooperation in the sphere of agriculture and on cooperation in the field of preservation of the environment were signed.
In November, 1997 the Israeli Knesset adopted the decision which represented various parties and parliamentary factions of the Knesset to create the Israeli parliamentary League with the purpose to develop friendship and cooperation with Kazakhstan,. Chairman of the Friendship League Israel-Kazakhstan is Mr.Amnon Kohen, Member of the Knesset, Chairman of the Economics Committee. The same group of friendship is created in the Parliament of Kazakhstan.
The important role in developing of partnership relations and searching for the mutually acceptable forms of cooperation belongs to the Kazakh-Israeli Joint Governmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. Four sessions of that Commission were held – March 1993, Almaty; November 1994, Jerusalem; June 1998, Almaty; November 2004, Jerusalem. Co-Chairmen of the Commission - Mr.Adilbek Jaksybekov, Minister of Industry and Trade of Kazakhstan, and Mr.Ehud Olmert, Deputy Prime-Minister, Minister of Industry, Trade, Labor and Communications of Israel had a meeting in Jerusalem during the fourth session of a Commission. Now, the fifth session is going to be held in April, 2010 in Astana.
In September, 1999 Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.Tokaev paid an official visit to Israel. During holding meetings with leadership of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs important issues of mutual relations were discussed, in particular, concerning interactions of two countries within the framework of the initiative of Kazakhstan on convocation the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
The second official visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Israel was held on April 3-5th, 2000. The Declaration on the further development of mutual understanding and cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the State of Israel signed during that visit has shown adherence of the both countries to establish mutually beneficial partnership relations. During the meetings the Israeli leadership marked Kazakhstan as a major partner in the Central Asia and has expressed gratitude to the Kazakh people rescued tens of thousands Jewish families in the period of the World War II. Within the framework of intergovernmental negotiations the agreements on cooperation and mutual aid in customs affairs, on interaction in sphere of business, investments and expansions mutually beneficial cooperation were also signed.
President N. Nazarbayev has been awarded by the award “For Special Merits to Jewish People” on behalf of the President of Israel and the Chief Rabbi of Israel. Three thousand trees planted in vicinities of Jerusalem in the honor of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan became the recognition by the Israeli and Jewish people of the contribution of the leader of Kazakhstan to strengthening of successfully developing relations between the two countries.
Within the framework of the visit, the conference “Investments in Kazakhstan” has been organized with participation of a large number of Israeli businessmen, bankers and also business representatives from Kazakhstan and delegation of the Southern-Kazakhstan region.
The Permanent Representative Mission of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kazakhstan established in Israel in the end of 2001 with the purpose to further expansion of trade and economic relations. The mission is managed by the Director General of Insurance Company “Zmadim”, Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in Israel Mr.David Luxemburg.
On September, 3, 2002 at the UN World Summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev met Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel Shimon Peres where various issues of bilateral cooperation were discussed. Mr.Peres highly estimated the prospects of joint cooperation, especially in agriculture, and stressed a role of Kazakhstan as reliable economic partner of Israel. It has been noted that rates of economic growth of Kazakhstan were amazing. By Mr.Peres opinion, Kazakhstan is a good model of the country of interethnic and interconfessional consent. In his turn, President Nazarbayev stressed that Kazakhstan provided all favorable conditions for all religious confessions including Judaism, and other traditional religions in the country. Shimon Peres has positively assessed the activity of Nursultan Nazarbayev to move the capital of Kazakhstan from Almaty to Astana.
The contacts with the Israel Foreign Trade Risks Insurance Corporation “IFTRIC” engaged by insurance of the Israeli exporters have been established to solve an issue of a high level of risk of capital investments and deliveries of the goods to Kazakhstan, connected to absence of direct transport and communication routs. The official visit of IFTRIC delegation to Kazakhstan has taken place in June, 2004, during which successful meetings and negotiations with high officials of the Kazakhstan ministries and the departments, the largest banks and the national companies have passed.
In 2004 the Israel - Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce and Industry started its activity in Israel called to develop economic cooperation between two countries and their business communities.
In 2004 the Israeli company “RoeTer” began its activity in Kazakhstan (under the management of former Vice-Mayor of Tel Aviv Michael Roee and Former Prime-Minister of Kazakhstan Sergey Tereschenko) which brings a big contribution to encourage business contacts between businessmen of the two countries. Among the realized projects is an opening in Kazakhstan the educational classes using progressive multimedia techniques of Israeli company “Degem”.
On 16-17 May, 2005 the Israeli delegation headed by Mr.Raanan Dinur, the Director General of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor visited Kazakhstan. During the visit entrepreneurs of the two countries participated in the Kazakh-Israeli business forum in Astana. During the meeting the businessmen discussed the perspectives of cooperation in the areas of trade, telecommunication, aerospace, satellite communications and security systems.
On September 12, 2005 in Uralsk Kazakh Technological Park “Algorithm” and Chamber of Commerce and Industry “Israel-Kazakhstan” signed Memorandum on mutual cooperation. The document is aimed to bring modern Israeli engineering structures, attract new technologies to the Western Kazakhstan Region
The delegation of Kazakh National Company “Kazkosmos” headed by Mr.Serik Turzhanov, the Chairman of the Board, visited Israel on September 19-22, 2005 by the invitation of the Israeli Space Agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology. The main goal of the visit was to establish direct contacts with the leading Israeli companies in the area of space development and producing new space technique. Kazakh delegation visited such well known Israeli companies as “RAFAEL”, “ELBIT”, “IAI”.
On May 8-12, 2006 the delegation of the Republic of Kazakhstan headed by the Vice Minister of Agriculture Dulat Aitzhanov visited Israel within the frameworks of the AGRITECH 2006 International Exhibition. Vice Minister was accompanied by the group of thirty Kazakh businessmen working in the field of agriculture and processing agricultural products.
On May 9 in Tel Aviv Kazakhstan-Israeli Business Forum was held, where the official and business circles of the two countries discussed perspectives of cooperation in the area of agriculture. During the visit Vice Minister Aitzhanov met with the Minister of Agriculture of Israel Shalom Simhon, where the parties exchanged views on current and perspective development of bilateral cooperation in agro-industrial area.
Kazakh delegation visited a number of Israeli farms producing milk, meat and fish products. There also were meetings with the leadership of “TAHAL” company working in the area of water industry as well as the educational complex of the Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation (CINADCO) under the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The delegation of the State of Israel headed by Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres visited Kazakhstan during the 2nd CICA Summit on June 16-17, 2006.
The head of International programs center of Ministry of Education and Science of the RK Altynbek Sharipbayev visited Israel and gave meetings in the leading Israeli universities, discussed prospects of study of Kazakhstan students within the framework of “Bolashak” program in July 2006.
Delegation from the Republic of Kazakhstan consisting of President of “National fund of Innovation”, JSC Nurbek Rayev, Chairman Deputy of Aerospace Committee of Ministry of Education and Science Askar Abduzhaparov and General Director of National biotechnological center of Ministry of Education and Science Erlan Ramankulov visited Israel in the period of August 19-22, 2006.
The visit was held within the framework of agreements achieved during the meeting between the president of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Deputy Shimon Peres in Almaty, in June 2006.These agreements were mainly regarding cooperation in the high technology sphere, particularly, in space research and biotech, also training of Kazakhstan specialist in Israeli educational institutions.
Visit of the Prime Minister Deputy of the Republic of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov accompanied by the Minister of Education and Science Byrganym Aitimova, the president of “Sustainable development fund “Kazyna””, JSC Kairat Kelimbetov and managers of development institutes to the Israel was held on October 28-31, 2006.
Within the visit framework, the meetings with the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister Deputy Shimon Peres, the Prime Minister Deputy – the Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eliyahu Yishai, the Minister of Finance Abraham Hirchson, the Minister of National Infrastructures and Power Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and the Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanely Fischer were held.
During the visit, contract between Kazakhstan “National fund of Innovation”, JSC and “Vertex Venture Capital” Managing Company regarding investments in Israeli venture fund Vertex III Fund L.P. was concluded. Sum of Kazakhstan investments in venture fund made up $ 5 mln.
In the framework of the visit, in the context of Kazakhstan program “Bolashak” Memorandum on Cooperation was signed between the Minister of Education and Science of Kazakhstan B. Aitimova and the Minister of Education of Israel U.Tamir.
The Vice Minister of Industry and Trade, Special Representative for negotiations concerning the Republic of Kazakhstan entry into World Trade Organization Zhanar Aitzhanova visited Israel with the purpose to carry out bilateral discussions concerning Kazakhstan entry into WTO in the period of February 26-27, 2007. Signing of bilateral Protocol about entry of the Republic of Kazakhstan into WTO resulted the negotiations.
Kazakhstan delegation at the head of Akim of Mangystau region Krymbek Kusherbayev visited the State of Israel in May 2-5, 2007. Akim Deputy Mikhail Bortnik, General Director of “Aktau International Sea Trade Port”, RGP Talgat Abylgazin, managers of health care and agriculture regional department, and business representatives took part in the delegation. During their stay delegation visited Israeli first rate enterprises.
Meetings with the Prime Minister Deputy of Israel Shimon Peres, the Minister of National Infrastructures Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Mayor of Ashdod city Zvi Zilker were held.
As a result of the visit the following agreement was reached: “I.E.D. Technologies” would set in operation in Mangystau region, till the end of 2007 two sea water desalination facilities with total capacity of 12 000 cb.m/day for process needs of “MAEK-Kazatomprom” and to provide population of Aktau city with drinking water.
According to Kazakhstan statistic data, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Israel amounted as follows:
Size of Israeli business inputs to the economy of Kazakhstan exceeds $ 300 mln. from the period from 1993 till September, 2006. Total amount of Kazakhstan investments to the economy of Israel exceeds $ 50 mln.
About 105 big, average and small enterprises with share of Israeli stock have been registered in Kazakhstan. Mainly they operate in the spheres of oil and gas, metallurgy, mining and manufacturing industry, cable production, construction, real estate operation, rent and service, trade. Most important and available investments have been performed by “Lev Leviev Group”, “Ormat”, “Bateman”, “Superior Cables Ltd”, “H.T. Cable Ltd”, “Direct Capital” and others.
Among the important and mutually beneficial spheres of cooperation between Kazakhstan and Israel are high technologies, agriculture and medicine.
Economic cooperation actively develops in sphere of high-tech which is a “locomotive” of economic growth and the advanced structural alterations in the Israeli industry. Cooperation is established with such Israeli companies as “Gilat Satellite”, “ECI Telecom”, “Motorola Israel”, “Tadiran Telecom”, group of the companies of Dr.M.Zaidman and others.
New opportunities to develop investment cooperation with Israel have appeared in the field of agriculture. In Kazakhstan many Israeli agricultural companies with solid international reputation already work.
The Kazakhstan-Israeli Company “Pri-Nir RK 2004” under the management of Israeli businessman Jacob Cheskala, and also Michael Roee and S.Tereschenko, began to realize in Southern Kazakhstan the project on manufacturing a tomato paste. This complex project has opened new page in cooperation of two countries in the field of agriculture by introduction of the advanced Israeli technologies and investments into manufacturing.
There are 4 consulting centers in Kazakhstan functioning by the Center of international cooperation “MASHAV” under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel and a few experimental-demonstrative greenhouses. Projects with application the advanced agricultural technicians, new technologies on cultivation, processing and storage of agricultural products are long-range and perspective
In the field of public health services and medicine contacts between health authorities of the two countries are established mainly on a commercial basis. The Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan and the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv established close cooperation.
The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan decided to send during the Year 2005 twenty doctors and thirty nurses to Israeli leading clinics in order to exchange experience.
The visit of Kazakhstan’s Health Minister Erbolat Dosayev to Israel on July 10-13, 2005 showed the mutual intends to intensify bilateral cooperation in medical sphere. He met with the Israeli Minister of Health Dan Naveh, visited a number of higher educational institutions, the leading Israeli clinics and also held meetings in several companies.
The hard work to develop the Kazakhstan-Israeli relations and mutually beneficial cooperation is carried out by the well-known businessman, Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan in Israel Mr. Lev Leviev.
Scientific and cultural - humanitarian ties are progressing within the framework of intergovernmental agreements between our countries. Since 1993, with a logistical and financial support of “MASHAV” and “SINADCO” - more than 250 Kazakhstan specialists have been trained by those centers. Necessary contacts were established with the Weizmann Institute – International Centre of Scientific Researches and Training in the field of natural sciences which has granted training quotas to the Kazakhstan scientists as well as the talented schoolboys and students from Kazakhstan to be trained in scientific summer camps.
The participation of Kazakhstan artist G.Madanova in the International exhibition of the fine and art crafts in Jerusalem and also performance of the state ensemble “Gulder” in the international festival of national dances in Israel became significant events in cultural life of our states. The Kazakhstan representatives participated in the international competition of caricaturists in Haifa. At the international film festival the feature film of Kazakh film director D.Omirbaev “Killer” was submitted. National ensemble of songs and dance of Israel and dancing troupe “Batdor” went on tour in Almaty. In 2003 the Kazakhstani pianists and sisters Ainagulovs plyed at the International festival of duets in Israel. Their concerts were held in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, Jerusalem and Herziliya. In 2003 Maestro R.Kanetti, conductor and the art director of “New Israeli chamber ensemble” participated as the judge at the International festival of creative youth of Kazakhstan. Before opening the festival, R.Kanetti acted with a symphonic orchestra of National Theatre of Opera and Ballet of Kazakhstan.
The interaction in the field of art has received fruitful development. In Israel works of the Kazakhstan sculptors and artists were exposed. The exhibitions of world renowned sculptor Frank Meisler, artist Eugeny Abesgaus were arranged in Kazakhstan. In 2003 a personal exhibition of a famous artist M.Rapoport “Border: Kazakhstan – Israel” has passed. In January, 2004 the exhibition of works of well-known Kazakhstan artist – avant-gardist Sergey Kalmykov opened in the Museum of Russian art in Ramat Gan.
On February 1-12, 2005 the Days of Kazakh Cinema were held in Israel during which the films of modern Kazakhstan cinematography were presented in Cinematheques of Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. The delegation headed by the “Kazakhfilm” National Company Director General Sergey Azimov specially visited Israel in order to introduce Kazakh cinema. Renowned film director Satybaldy Narymbetov presented his recent film “The Leyla’s Prayer” about the destiny of people living near to the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and about pernicious influence of nuclear tests on local residents during the Soviet time.
Israeli premiere of historical cinema “Nomad” was held in a formal atmosphere with public, political and business sections of society, artists and literature figures, diplomatic corp participation in Tel-Aviv, in March 29, 2007. Starting on April 12 during several months the movie was shown in cinema all over the Israel.
The agreement on establishment of the twin relations has been signed by Mayor of Almaty Mr.Viktor Khrapunov and Mayor of Tel Aviv Mr.Ron Huldai in December, 1999 in Israel. The Mayor of Tel Aviv visited Kazakhstan by invitation of Mayor of Almaty in June, 2001 and took part in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Independence of Kazakhstan.
Under the initiative of the Kazakhstan Embassy and the Israeli politicians, parliamentarians, businessmen, scientists and representatives of culture the Club of the Israeli friends of Kazakhstan is created in March, 2001. Dan Tikhon, former Speaker of Knesset, is elected as the President of Club.
The interconfessional dialogue is developing actively. The Chief Seffardic Rabbi of Israel Eliaga Bakshi-Doron has visited Almaty in July, 3, 2002 by the invitation of Mr.Alexander Mashkevich, the President of Euroasian Jewish Congress (ЕАJC), the President of the Jewish Congress of Kazakhstan. In June, 2003 the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger has paid a visit to Astana and met the President of Kazakhstan.
The Israeli side welcomes the initiatives of Kazakhstan to strengthen the cooperation and dialogue among religions at the international level. Yona Metzger and a large delegation of Israeli mass media have participated in the Congress of World and Traditional Religions in Astana in September, 2003.
On September 7th, 2004 a new synagogue was inaugurated in Astana in the presence of Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and strong Jewish delegation from around the world.
Yona Metzger, Chief Rabbi of Israel, has solemnly awarded an international Maimonides prize to the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on September 7 in Astana for an outstanding contribution into the dialogue between civilisations. "We have arrived as representatives of the Jewish people of the entire world to present the most prestigious prize existing in the Jewish world to the head of Kazakhstan," Y. Metzger said at the prize awarding ceremony. According to him, "it is exactly Nursultan Nazarbayev, who by his personality and leadership has united all peoples living in Kazakhstan and made this multiethnic country an isle of serenity, peace and quietude, in the times when hatred, animosity, and terror are raging around."
The chief rabbi of Israel expressed words of gratitude and respect to the President of Kazakhstan "for his work to establish peace and interreligious dialogue between peoples and their creeds." The international Maimonides prize was established in honor of a famous Jewish philosopher Rabbi Moses ben Maimonides, who lived in XI-XII centuries and laid foundations of the dialogue between Islam and Judaism.
The tourist exchanges between our countries are developing, though in this area there is a huge non-realized potential.
Lack of direct air connection between Israel and Kazakhstan has been a serious obstacle for normal trade and business development, and tourists’ exchange. Thereupon Kazakhstan side has taken a decision to launch regular direct flight with the route Almaty-Tel-Aviv-Almaty of “Sayahat” airline. First flight will be performed on June 28, 2007.