Setting up of a permanent Israeli diplomatic mission in Sri Lanka has never materialized though several attempts were made by both UNP and SLFP led governments in the past. The subject has come to the public limelight again with the present government is trying to set up a permanent Israeli embassy in Sri Lanka. During President J.R. Jayawardna's period an Israeli diplomatic mission was started attached the US embassy which was known as Israeli Interests Section. But it was closed down with the president Premadasa coming into power. President Prmadasa resorted to close down the Israeli Interests Section as he succumbed to the pressure by the local Muslims. Then again President Chandrika Kumarathunga took initiative to re-start an Israeli diplomatic mission but it never materialized again due to the pressure by the local Muslims. Both President Jayawardana and Kumarathunaga were compelled to take initiative to set up Israeli diplomatic mission as they strongly felt that the Israel's expertise in counter-terrorism and espionage would have been a great boost to Sri Lanka armed forces to check the LTTE terrorism which was raging during both the presidents' tenures.
Contribution to Sri Lanka in its war against terrorism
Though Israel's' physical presence was not in Sri Lanka as forms of diplomatic mission, the contribution made by the Israelites as forms of armaments and training given to members of the Sri Lankan armed forces can never be overlooked. Sri Lanka's successful military campaign against terrorism can hardly be described without mentioning of Kfir fighter jets and Dvora Fast Attack crafts. So are the trainings received by the members of the security forces.
Why do we need Israelites?
Experts in countering diplomatic offensives
It is a reality now that though LTTE was military defeated in Sri Lankan soil its presence outside Sri Lanka is an all-time high as has never been before. The anti-Sri Lankan campaign that it is vigorously perusing is such strong that it has succeeded in persuading most powerful countries in the West and some powerful world bodies throwing their weight behind them. Therefore, the need of the hour as far as Sri Lanka is concerned to make an all- out diplomatic war against this anti-Sri Lanka campaign. Having faced similar situations internationally more than half century Israelites have become experts in that department too. So the Israel experience and expertise in this sector would indeed be invaluable given the present juncture that Sri Lanka is in.
Science and Technology
Though the Israelites' expertise is legendry in the spheres of military and espionage, they are one of the most advanced nations in Science and Technology at present. The inventions made by the Israeli scientists to the advancement of the human kind are invaluable. So Sri Lanka should not stand to lose the chance of acquiring the technological know-how from one of the most advanced nations in Science and Technology and research and as the former is making its every effort to transform the peace dividend to the betterment of the people.
Agriculture and water conservation
Two of the major challenges that Sri Lanka would face in the coming few years would be the acute depletion of water resources and the lack of power generation opportunities. Acute water scarcity felt by the several parts of the country in the past decades has led to the farming communities abandoning agriculture which they had been engaged in for generations. Israelites' agricultural science research has been revolutionary to such extent that they have been able to turn the Israel, a patch of desert, the greenest country in the Arab world and to be self-sufficient in agriculture. Water conserving technology, agricultural methods that use a least amount of water and developing the plants that consume a least amount of water include some of the innovations made by Israelites to be self-sufficient in agriculture, living in a desert. Some of the Israeli agriculture technological methods have successfully been applied in the Trincomalee district, one of the driest districts in the country. So Sri Lanka is to gain a lot from Israelites in this sphere too.
Lessons to learn from our big brother
India is home to the second largest Muslim population in the world. Unlike Sri Lanka India is also home to a population of Jews too. Any move that might cause slightest damage to the India's integration and the national security would be the last option that it would dare to take. India started full diplomatic relation with Israel a few decades ago. (India did not have full diplomatic relations with Israel during the Cold War time). India has realized the immense benefits that it can get from Israelites in terms of Miltray Technology, Scientific Research, Power Generation and Agriculture Science etc.
Are we to lose the golden opportunities?
So Sri Lanka can no longer stand to lose the immense opportunities that It would get by setting up full Israel diplomatic mission here. The longer we take to establish the full diplomatic relations with Israel the greater the number of opportunities that we will have to lose. If we are going to lose these opportunities merely due to some perceived fears by some, we as a nation are the biggest losers. The benefits that we are to gain are for all the communities in the country.