By Rachel Avraham
Saadat Sukurova is the manager of Kanal 24, an Azerbaijani-Israeli online news channel, and is a resident of Netanya, Israel, who tirelessly works to promote the diplomatic relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan. This is her interview.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do professionally.
For 20 years, I have lived in Israel. I studied cinema and journalism in university. Upon completing my studies, I dedicated my career to promoting the Azerbaijani-Israeli friendship and hope this will affect Azerbaijani-American relations as well. I operate under two flags, the Israeli and the Azerbaijani flag. I care about both countries equally. On my news channel, Kanal 24, I cover everything connected with both countries.
What do you enjoy most about your profession and why did you choose it in the first place? What was the inspiration for your company/project?
The most wonderful thing in the world is to bring Jews and Muslims in Azerbaijan together as friends. In Azerbaijan, the Muslims always think of the Jewish people as their brothers. I want the Muslims in Israel to be like them. Working for this is my duty. My news channel works to promote this vision, as we cover the news in Israel, Azerbaijan and all over the world. I get up every morning to work because I love both Azerbaijan and Israel.
Tell us about any new projects you have coming up (or recently completed).
I recently completed a project titled “Shusha in the eyes of Jews,” which documents what Jewish people saw and thought upon visiting Shusha. It will be hosted at the Netanya Cultural Center on October 12th at 7:30pm. “Shusha in the eyes of Jews’ was a strong story and very important for me. This is because Shusha is very important as the cultural capital of Azerbaijan and to document what Jews think about it strengthens the relationship between both countries.
Aside from that, I do song clips and movies. 40,000 people see my clips highlighting the friendship between Israel and Azerbaijan. I did some highlighting the parallels between the Khojaly Genocide and the Holocaust.
In the future, I want to do a movie and a book showing what Muslims in Azerbaijan think about Jews. It will focus on what prominent Muslims think about the Jewish people in Azerbaijan. I work all of the time and got all sorts of projects.
What is a typical day like for you?
All of the time, I watch the news and work on my projects. I do my projects slowly but steadily. I work all of the time and seldom sleep. But aside from that, family is the most important thing to me. The family comes first and then the work. I always make time to be with my family.
From where do you draw inspiration? Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?
All of my life I was influenced by Udrus Shirsova. She was an intelligent woman. She was my teacher. She told me what to do. Each time I was in Azerbaijan, I was happy to see her.
What do you do to keep yourself sharp? What one thing have you done in the past year that has made a significant difference in your life/your business?
I went to the Azerbaijani Congress and to Shusha. This inspired me to do a big project on Shusha.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
For the next five years or even eight, I would like to work with two flags. I am a soldier for both countries. This is my life mission.
What do you do for fun/relaxation/entertainment?
My family is my fun. Aside from this, my life revolves around Azerbaijan. I want there to be peace between all countries. I want there to be a strong connection between Israel and Azerbaijan, and for this to influence the relationship with the United States.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I want stronger relations between Israel and Azerbaijan, and for this to influence Azerbaijani-American relations. I would like for the Jewish people and all other peoples to love Azerbaijan like the Azerbaijanis love the Jewish people. Not everyone understands Azerbaijan. We would like for everyone all over the world to understand Azerbaijan better.
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Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and an Israel-based journalist.