Defence Minister Ron Mark [pictured above] has been visiting Israel in recent days, as part of his trip to the Middle East and Africa.

On the trip, he is scheduled to visit NZDF personnel deployed to the Multinational Force and Observers mission on the Sinai Peninsula, the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation on the Golan Heights, and the United Nations Mission to South Sudan.

Mark says the Government has recently extended the mandates for these missions.

“So it is important for me to obtain further insights from those on the ground about the conditions and challenges they will be facing, as part of our ongoing monitoring and assessment of our missions around the world.

“It will also serve to directly acknowledge the service of our personnel who operate in difficult and dangerous environments on behalf of the people of New Zealand.”

He will be undertaking bilateral meetings with his counterparts in Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. While visiting Israel, Mark met with Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. [pictured below.]

Read or watch Israel National News’ article on the meeting here.

Read J-Wire’s article on the meeting here.

Meetings with other officials, including former New Zealand Labour Party leader David Shearer, who is now leading the United Nations Mission to South Sudan, are also planned.

Mark, who is a NZ First MP, is accompanied on the trip by the Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, Tim Macindoe, who is a National MP.

“It is important to me that those on the Select Committee, and members of both Government and Opposition parties in our Parliament, are well versed in the work the NZDF carries out overseas”, the minister says.

Before going into politics, Mark was in the New Zealand army. During his army career, he served a 13-month tour of duty in the Sinai with the Multinational Force and Observers.