Ex-envoy: Georgia modeled its army after IDF
Former Israeli ambassador to Georgia says 'it's a shame war broke out during one of country's most prosperous periods'. Adds: When I was growing up we always considered South Ossetia, Abkhazia to be part of Georgia
Shmulik Hadad Published: 08.10.08, 20:51 / Israel News
"Georgian government officials used to tell me that they wanted to model their army after the IDF," former Israeli ambassador to Georgia Shabtai Zur told Ynet Sunday evening amid the country's bloody feud with Russia over the separatist region of South Ossetia. The fighting which broke out over the weekend between Russia and Georgia has brought Israel's intensive involvement in the region into the limelight. This involvement includes the sale of advanced weapons to Georgia and the training of the Georgian army's infantry forces. The Israeli Defense Ministry held a special meeting Sunday to discuss the various arms deals held by Israelis in Georgia, but no change in policy has been announced as of yet.
Zur, a candidate for mayor of Ashkelon in the upcoming municipal elections, explained that since Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili took office the country has seen advancements in various fields, specifically the enlistment of women to the army and the recruitment of reservists. "In my opinion these developments are due in part to advice Georgia received from Israeli companies that operate there," Zur said, adding that the economic development in the country has attracted many Israeli businessmen.