JULY 19, 2018 – As Matan Zamir wraps up his post as Deputy Consul General of Israel to New England at the end of September, the ever-exuberant 36-year-old diplomat spoke with the Journal about his recent initiatives working with Boston’s Jewish community.
Zamir, whose family has called Jerusalem home for nine generations, also revealed that he enjoys strolling around Boston’s North End and South End neighborhoods and discovering places to eat.
Below is an excerpt of the conversation with Zamir at his Park Square office.
Jewish Journal: What is a project you are most excited about?
Matan Zamir: Something fresh, that we just did last February, was to take a delegation of 12 young people to Kenya with a partnership with the CJP [Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.] We went to see the work that Israel and the Israeli embassy is doing in Nairobi in the area of international development. They have hundreds of projects in education, technology, and water. [The trip] was a first-of-its-kind program. The idea was to get inspired and to inspire others. The next delegation is leaving at the end of August.
JJ: You’ve become known as the go-to expert for introducing the area’s Jewish community to the wider world of Israeli wines.
MZ: Yes. This was envisioned by the Consul General [Yehuda Yaakov]. Not many people know, and I hope many more people today know, that Israel has an amazing variety of wines, with more than 250 wineries. I am now a fan, not only because I’m Israeli but I really enjoy Israeli wine. I just came back from a wine outlet in New Hampshire and there was an Israeli section. It was incredible. The more people ask for Israeli wines in shops and restaurants, the more they will be supplied.
JJ: As someone in your mid-30s, did you bring a younger generation’s perspective to your role?
MZ: One example, very recently, of something I did. It bothered me that with half a million [people] coming to Boston’s Pride Parade, we did not have an official delegation. It’s done in other cities. This was the first year. We had a group of about 50 people marching in an Israeli delegation. It was incredible.
JJ: Have you been to the new Cafe Landwer [a popular chain across Israel that this year opened its first US location on Beacon Street in Boston]?
MZ: Yes. For me, it is a taste of Israel. If you change the street name, it’s like Rothschild Boulevard [Tel Aviv’s historic street filled with restaurants.] It’s a great destination.
JJ: What’s next for you?
MZ: My plan is to be in Israel for a year or two [with the Foreign Ministry] and I hope to be back in the US.