In early June, Jewish Times Asia was invited to interview Dan Meridor, former Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, former Minister of Intelligence and also son of a former Knesset member.
Meridor hails from and extremely powerful and successful family. His father, Eliyahu Meridor was a member of the Knesset. His younger brother, Sallai Meridor was appointed Israeli ambassador to the US in 2006.
His son, Shaul Meridor, one of Dan and Liora Meridor’s four children, is the Deputy Director of the Allocation Branch at the Ministry of Finance and his nephew holds a senior position at the Trump Foundation.
Now free from his political roles, he opted to come to Hong Kong with his wife on an unofficial visit. Jewish Times Asia met with him in a private meeting room at the Conrad Hotel Hong Kong. Also in attendance was Ambassador Amikam Levy to Hong Kong.
Jewish Times Asia: What is the purpose of your visit to Hong Kong?
I am no longer a member of the government, I am free at last to do what I like. A few months ago the Consulate General invited me to Hong Kong because he felt it would be beneficial to give the Hong Kong Jewish Community the chance to meet Israeli visitors so I am now here for a four day visit. I am attending three or four large lunch engagements including giving a speech at the Israel Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. Some events hosted by the Asia Society and a lunch with leading figures in the Hong Kong Jewish Community.
We have also met the Secretary of Justice. Plus I have had the chance to enjoy seeing parts of Hong Kong that I haven’t been able to see on previous visits and sampling the delicious cuisine. I particularly enjoyed visiting Stanley Market.
Jewish Times Asia: What impression has Hong Kong made on you both on this visit and from your official visits in the past?
Hong Kong is an extremely generous city. There is nowhere like Hong Kong. It is unique and interesting and this doesn’t surprise me as I knew this from my previous visits here. It is a melange of two cultures. The blend of British and Chinese culture is unique.
Compared to Europe and US, there is no weight of latent or simmering anti-semitism and the safety for Jewish families in Hong Kong is noticeable. Hong Kong is extremely pro-Israel. It sees Israel in a positive light and as a success story with its economic achievements, success in Science and Nobel Prize winners. Israel is highly appreciated by Asia.
Jewish Times Asia: Now that you no longer have an official political role, what are you doing with your time now?
I took on some pro-bono public functions in Israel and have also been offered positions in two law firms which I need to think carefully about over the coming weeks. I have been invited to lecture at Harvard University and I also now have time to focus on my seven grandchildren.
Jewish Times Asia: Alongside your political career you have also enjoyed a successful career in the legal profession. What areas did you specialise in?
I mainly focussed on constitutional law and human rights law alongside my political work but I was private contract lawyer before that. I have also worked in criminal law. As you can see, I did not focus on just one area of law, that wasn’t the custom in those days.