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Jerusalem deputy mayor appointed first Israeli innovation envoy

"There is no better message than the robust economy Israel has built despite the odds," Fleur Hassan-Nahoum said.

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen appoints Fleur Hassan-Nahoum as innovation envoy, Sept. 13, 2023. Photo by Shlomi Amsalem/GPO.
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen appoints Fleur Hassan-Nahoum as innovation envoy, Sept. 13, 2023. Photo by Shlomi Amsalem/GPO.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum has been named the Jewish state’s first special envoy for innovation, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced on Wednesday.

In announcing the decision, Cohen praised Hassan-Nahoum’s “tireless” efforts to strengthen the Israeli capital’s innovation ecosystem over the past years.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this appointment and look forward to amplifying this message on a global scale, together with the team of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in full collaboration with the incredible Israeli innovation ecosystem,” said Hassan-Nahoum.

“There is no better message than the robust economy Israel has built despite the odds, leveraging its spirit of innovation and solving humanity’s problems,” she added.

Hassan-Nahoum was born in London and grew up in Gibraltar. She studied law at London’s King’s College, qualifying as a barrister in 1997. She practiced law in the U.K. before making aliyah with her husband in 2001.

She was first elected to the Jerusalem City Council in 2016, and was named deputy mayor two years later, serving as the Israeli capital’s “unofficial foreign minister.”

Following the signing of the 2020 Abraham Accords, which saw four Arab countries make peace with Israel, she co-founded the UAE-Israel Business Council, an association of Emirati and Israeli business and government leaders fostering bilateral trade, innovation and cooperation.

She also helped to establish the Gulf-Israel Women’s Forum, the first association bringing together female leaders from across the Middle East. She has a strong network of contacts in Bahrain and Morocco.

“The business community is actually the real envoy, the real mediator here. They want to see the fruits, and they’re not going to come through a ‘kumbaya’ event. The needle is going to be moved by doing business and creating regional solutions for regional challenges,” Hassan-Nahoum told JNS in June, referring to the efforts to normalize ties with additional countries in the region.

“Fleur has done wonders for the innovation ecosystem of Jerusalem and I have no doubt she will now do this for Israel on a global scale representing us with honor and professionalism,” Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said.

Also on Wednesday, Cohen appointed Michal Cotler-Wunsh as Israel’s special envoy for combating antisemitism, replacing Noa Tishby, who was removed from the position some five months ago. Earlier this week, Rabbi Leo Dee was named special envoy for social initiatives.

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