Rivlin, who has extensive knowledge about Samoa, on Monday told Samoan Prime Minister Susuga Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi that he deeply regretted not having visited his country.
Rivlin said that as Speaker of the Knesset, he had visited New Zealand, and from there had gone to Tonga. He would have liked to continue to Samoa which is famous for its natural beauty, but there were no direct flights from Tonga. In order to reach Samoa, he would have had to fly back to New Zealand and then take another flight from New Zealand to Samoa. The time factor was prohibitive, he said. It would have been akin to flying from Tel Aviv to New York.
Malielegaoi assured him that there are flights from Tel Aviv to Samoa, and said that Israel's ambassador could advise him which was the best way to come to Samoa.
Israel's ambassador to Samoa Itzhak Gerberg who accompanied Malielegaoi on this, his first visit to Israel, is non-resident and is stationed in Wellington, New Zealand, whereas New Zealand's ambassador to Israel is stationed in Ankara, Turkey.