New Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee has revealed he has moved swiftly to try to restore diplomatic relations with Israel.

Soon after receiving his ministerial warrant on Tuesday, he wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holding out an olive branch.

Israel withdrew its ambassador from New Zealand in December and belated travel rights of New Zealand's ambassador to Israel, based in Turkey, after New Zealand co-sponsored a Security Council Resolution condemning its continued settlements in the West Bank.

"I've sent a letter to Mr Netanyahu yesterday firstly congratulating them on their national day but expressing a desire for the Israeli-New Zealand relationship to get back on track and to do that by recognising that we've got synergies and innovation and agriculture and various other things like that."


Netanyahu was extremely angry at New Zealand's involvement in the UN resolution which passed almost unanimously.

The United States abstained rather than exercising its veto as it has previously done, which allowed the resolution to pass in the final days of the Obama Administration.

Netanyahu called former Foreign Minister Murray McCully and reportedly threatened to interpret New Zealand's sponsorship as a "declaration of war."

New Zealand has long opposed Israel's settlement on the West Bank on the basis that it undermines the widely accepted two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Brownlee told the Herald this morning that he expected that the letter would enable the respective foreign ministries to start discussion with a view to re-establishing diplomatic connection.

Asked if he would like relations to be restored by October when commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba in Israel are due to take place he said "that would be most desirable."

New Zealand took part in the World War I battle.