Lasha Zhvania, Georgian Republic's ambassador to Israel is the only foreign envoy residing in Jerusalem, apart from the four whose embassies are located there.
The diplomat chose to reside in the capital's Malha neighborhood, established in the 5th century as a Georgian Christian village after the king of Georgia at the time sent people to protect the Georgian churches and monasteries that were there.
He himself is Christian, although he has Jewish roots on his mother's side. "For me, Israel is Jerusalem. Everything else is around Jerusalem. I was here for the first time as a 14-year-old boy, and since then, I fell in love," Zhvania, who speaks fluent Hebrew, says.
This is his second term as the Georgian ambassador to Israel. Zhvania does not hesitate even when faced with the question of his homeland: "A few days ago, a friend came and asked, 'Lasha, which city do you love more, Jerusalem or Tbilisi?' I said Jerusalem is the first."
The diplomat said his choice of residence was approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tbilisi: "I don't live beyond the Green Line - borders decided in 1949 in as part of the Armistice Agreements - but in the western part of the city. I live in a city that was founded by King David, and I am proud to be here," he said. The Palestinian Authority formally lodged a formal protest with the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which did not respond.
When asked if he himself recommends moving the embassy to Jerusalem, Zhvania says he represents his government's position and not his own.
The relations between Jerusalem and Tbilisi are currently at their peak. As part of these relations, Georgia supports important votes for Israel at the UN, and soon the two countries will begin negotiations to establish a free trade area.