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Herman Berkovits: I helped strengthen Romanian-Israeli relationships by facilitating meetings of Romanian leaders with PM Netanyahu

 The Government of Romania will soon travel to the Holy Land for a joint meeting with the Israeli Cabinet. An important role in the top-level relations between Romania and Israel is played by Dr. Herman Berkovits, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal physician.

Who are you, Dr. Berkovits?

I’m Dr. Herman Berkovits, or Tvica, in short. I was born in Târgu Lăpuş, in Maramureş, and after high school I was accepted at the Cluj Medical School. After graduation I worked as a physician for a few years, and then, in 1975, I emigrated to Israel, with my family. My wife, Elisabeta, born in Târgu-Mureş and a graduate of the Cluj Conservatory, the Piano Department, is currently the deputy director of the Jerusalem Music Academy.

How did you become the personal physician of PM Netanyahu?

Once I came to Israel and started practicing medicine I managed, in a few years, to make a name for myself as a physician. This is how some of PM Netanyahu’s family members became my patients.

Over the years, the entire Netanyahu family resorted to my services, which built the mutual trust between us as well as the friendship between our families, which has lasted for 20 years.

My wife was the piano teacher of the Netanyahu boys. This is actually how we met. We visit each others and take part in all the family events in our lives.

Ten years ago we visited Bucharest and the wonderful Braşov area together with the Netanyahus. They were impressed with the beauty of the places and of the people they met, and have admired this country ever since.

When were you appointed the personal physician of Israel’s PM?

Five years ago, at the beginning of his second term in office as Prime Minister of Israel, I was officially appointed Mr. Netanyahu’s personal physician. This appointment was a great honour, in terms of the confidence and responsibility given to me. And it further strengthened the connection between us.

What are your ties to Romania today?

Although I am an Israeli citizen, I have not forgotten my Romanian roots and I visit Romania often, my birthplace and the friends I have here. Every time we come to Bucharest, we go to theatre and opera shows and concerts, which we appreciate for their high artistic level.

I would like to mention that PRO TV INTERNATIONAL came to our house and shot an interview with us for their show “Successful Romanians”.

In the 2008 parliamentary election, I ran for a Deputy seat to represent the Romanian Diaspora in Africa and the Middle East. I came out the first at the vote count, but because of the Romanian election system I did not get into the Parliament of Romania!

What are your relations with the Romanian political leaders?

My being so close to the Israeli Prime Minister helped strengthen the ties between the two states.

Over the years I had an opportunity to contribute to many meetings of Romanian political personalities who visited Israel, including Adrian Năstase, Mircea Geoană, Adriean Videanu, Teodor Baconschi, etc. I have recently taken part in organising the visit to Israel of the Mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, and of two important ministers of Romania, who were received by PM Netanyahu.

I know the meetings were a success, which is a great satisfaction for me.

In the near future a meeting will take place between officials from the Romanian and Israeli governments, an event in which I am personally involved.

Ponta in Jerusalem

In early April Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his wife, Daciana went to Jerusalem, where they were the guests of the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s family.

Victor Ponta posted on his Facebook page several photos from Jerusalem and the following message: “Two special days in Jerusalem ahead of the Easter holydays! And an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of the family of Mr. Netanyahu, who knows and admires Romania (this is how I realise that being a prime minister in Romania is quite easy compared to others)”.

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