Foreign relations of Israel
Found in: Foreign relations of Israel
The State of Israel joined the United Nations on May 11, 1949. Today, Israel has diplomatic relations with 162 states. Since 1967, the Jewish state has established diplomatic relations with most countries, including two of its Arab neighbors, although many Arab and Muslim countries have continued to shun it. After the Madrid Conference of 1991, and as a direct result of the peace process, Israel established or renewed diplomatic ties with 68 countries. High priorities in the foreign policy of Israel are seeking an end to hostilities with the Arab countries that have battled against it since its inception, and establishing commercial and cultural ties with nations around the world.
After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish state experienced diplomatic isolation and Arab League boycotts. Currently Israel has diplomatic relations with 162 countries. It does not have diplomatic relations with the 35 countries below. 18 of these are members of the 22-member Arab League, itself comprising solely members of the 57-member Islamic Conference (OIC). 30 of the 35 countries below are OIC members.
Africa: Algeria, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Guinea, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia
East Asia: (Republic of China) non-Muslim country.; Israel formally recognize the People's Republic of China. The People's Republic of China refuses to have diplomatic relations with any nation that recognizes the Republic of China; see political status of Taiwan. Due to this reason, Israel may not establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of China.
, North Korea
South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, non-Muslim country.; Bhutan only has diplomatic relations with 22 countries; see Foreign relations of Bhutan.
Southeast Asia: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia
Southwest Asia: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
In October 2000, Israeli diplomatic missions in Morocco, Tunisia and the Sultanate of Oman were closed as these countries suspended relations with Israel. The Republic of China (or Taiwan) recognizes Israel, but does not officially conduct relations (though there are "unofficial relations") due to Israel's recognition of the People's Republic of China.''
All Lusophone countries, including Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Cape Verde, maintain diplomatic relations with Israel, as well as Equatorial Guinea.
Relations between Israel and Angola are primarily based on trade and pro-United States foreign policies, and are excellent. In March 2006, the trade volume between the two countries amounted to $400 million. The Israeli ambassador to Angola is Avraham Benjamin. In 2005, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos visited Israel.
Relations between Israel and the Union of South Africa were established as early as 1948, the Nationalist Prime Minister Daniel Francois Malan paying a visit to Israel and "forgetting" about the clearly antisemitic profile his own party earned during the 1930s and by its opposition to joining in the Anti-Hitlerite coalition in World War II. After the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, Israel became one of the loudest critics of South African apartheid regime, which, along with Israel's intensive cooperation with the newly independent Sub-Saharan states, brought about a break in relations with Pretoria. After 1967, however, and particularly in the 1970s, Israel became Pretoria's strategic partner. Israel joined the West only in the late 1980s in boycotting South Africa before the collapse of apartheid. Relations between modern-day Israel and South Africa are increasingly warm, although South Africa has been an outspoken critic of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.
Israel-Zimbabwe relations are extraordinarily poor with the state-run publication, The Herald, questioning the legitimacy of Israel's existence. The Zimbabwean government recognizes an independent Palestinian state and advocates a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Mugabe government strongly supported the PLO under Yasser Arafat in the 1980s. Zimbabwe formally established relations with the PLO in March 1983. Ali Halimeh served as the PLO's ambassador to Zimbabwe from 1983 to the 1990s. Israeli relations with apartheid-era South Africa, built up in the 1970s by SA Prime Minister John Vorster, fueled Zimbabwe's verbal support for the PLO and comparisons of Zionism to apartheid.
Since independence, Armenia has received support from Israel and today remains one of its major trade partners. While both countries have diplomatic relations, neither maintains an embassy in the other country. Instead, Ehude Moshe Eytam, the Israeli ambassador to Armenia is based in Tbilisi, Georgia, and visits the capital Yerevan twice a month. Israel has recognized 10 Armenians as Righteous Among the Nations for risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, but does not recognize the Armenian Genocide because of its complicated relationship with Turkey, which is one of the few countries in the Middle East that recognizes Israel's right to exist.
Azerbaijani-Israeli relations are good, and Israel has an embassy in Baku. In May 1999, the U.S.-Azerbaijan Council sponsored a seminar to discuss relations among Azeris, Jews, and Israel. In April 2000, an Israeli trade delegation visited Baku to discuss ways of strengthening bilateral economic relations.
Many Azerbaijanis express the hope that friendship with Israel may help to resolve the continuted Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and expedite Azerbaijan's integration with the West. The Azerbaijan-Israel Friendship Society facilitates and promotes bilateral diplomatic and business links. In October 2001, President Aliyev pledged to open an embassy in Israel and to send his Foreign Minister to visit the country. Although neither has occurred, Azerbaijani-Israeli strategic cooperation continues to grow.
For many years, Azerbaijan has maintained high rates of immigration to Israel due to the economic and political situation in the country. In 2002, 475 Jews made aliyah and 111 immigrated to the United States. The Azeri government gets regular updates from Israel regarding Azeri Jews in Israel, who are plagued by unemployment, crime, and other social issues as new immigrants in Israel.
On January 9, 1950, the Israeli government extended recognition to the People's Republic of China, but diplomatic relations were not established until January 1992.
Israel has provided China with technological assistance in the areas of advanced agriculture and irrigation. Bilateral R&D projects, supported by the China-Israel Agricultural Research Fund, are focused on the development of new varieties of fruit and vegetables, agricultural biotechnology and applying modern technologies for processing fresh produce. Israel has built three major demonstration farms in China and several training centers which are supported by both Chinese and Israeli ministries of agriculture.
Israel has also provided China with military assistance, expertise and technology. According to a report from the US-China Security Review Commission, "Israel ranks second only to Russia as a weapons system provider to China and as a conduit for sophisticated military technology, followed by France and Germany." Israel was ready to sell China the Phalcon, an Israeli airborne early-warning radar system (AWACS), until the United States forced it to cancel the deal.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, cultural exchange has been a major component of the bilateral relations, as both sides recognise the importance of creating a strong foundation based on their ancient and rich histories. In 2007, China launched a countrywide "Festival of Culture" in Israel to mark 15 years of relations.
India established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in 1992 and has since become one of Israel's strongest allies in Asia. The two countries cooperate in anti-terrorist activities in the Middle East and Southern Asia. Israel is India's second-largest arms provider and India is Israel's principal arms market, and the trade volume between the two countries has increased significantly in the past few years. Co-operation has taken place in the space sector as well with India launching Israeli satellites.
Relations between Israel and Iran have alternated from close political alliances between the two states during the era of the Pahlavi dynasty to hostility following the rise to power of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Currently, the countries do not have diplomatic relations with each other, due to Iran's withdrawal of its recognition of Israel.
"The European Union and Russia have joined condemnation of the Iranian president's public call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map'."
"Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad -- who in October called for Israel to be 'wiped off the map' -- has now questioned the extent of the Holocaust and suggested that the Jewish state be moved to Europe. Ahmadinejad's comments, made on the sidelines of a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), have again sparked international condemnation." Golnaz Esfandiari.
"Leaders around the world on Thursday condemned a call by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel be 'wiped off the map,'... In a joint statement, the E.U. leaders 'condemned in the strongest terms' the Iranian president's call..." Mary Jordan and Karl Vick. World Leaders Condemn Iranian's Call to Wipe Israel 'Off the Map', Washington Post, October 28, 2005
"In unusually strong language, the National Council of Churches USA has condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejads call for the obliteration of Israel and his claim that the Holocaust was a myth." NCC Condemns Ahmadinejads Holocaust Statement, National Council of Churches, December 16, 2005.
"Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was condemned in the West when he called the Holocaust a myth." Michael Slackman. In Tehran, a riposte to the Danish cartoons The New York Times, August 24, 2006.
"In October 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was condemned for calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and followed up with comments downplaying the Holocaust." Israel planning tactical nuclear strike on Iran, Daily News Sri Lanka, January 8, 2007.
"Ahmadinejad has been widely condemned for describing the Holocaust as a "myth" and calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" Germans Protest Against Ahmadinejad, Racism As Cup Opens, Deutsche Welle, June 11, 2006.
"Ahmadinejad has been condemned internationally after denying the Holocaust, and calling for Israel to be 'wiped off the map.'" Sharon's absence from world stage prompts conflicting views, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, January 5, 2006"Mr Ahmadinejad has been condemned for calling for Israel's destruction and saying the Nazi Holocaust was a 'myth'." Bayern Munich deny backing Iran, BBC News, January 13, 2006.
were perceived by Israel as threat of destruction. Little fanfare in Iraq "Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for the destruction of Israel, saying it was the only way to solve the problems of the Middle East." CNN, 1 January 2000
A larger population of Iranian Jews reside in Israel with the former President of Israel Moshe Katsav, the former Chief of Staff / Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, former Chief of staff Dan Halutz, being the most famous of this group.
Pakistan has stated it will not recognize the State of Israel until a Palestinian nation-state is created. Afterwards, recognition between Jerusalem and Islamabad may take place.
In 2003, President Pervez Musharraf raised the issue of possible diplomatic relations with Israel, and in 2005 the foreign ministers of the two countries held talks for the first time. However, following the meeting Musharraf said Pakistan will not recognise the state of Israel until an independent Palestinian state is established, - although, according to Musharraf, Pakistan will eventually recognise Israel.
On May 15, 1952, diplomatic relations were established with the government of Japan at a Legation level. However, the Japanese government refrained from appointing a Minister Plenipotentiary to Israel until 1955. Relations between the two states were distant at first, but after 1958, as demand no break occurred. This had been at the same time the Arab world had imposed an oil embargo against several countries, including Japan.
On November 29, 1947, the Philippines was the only Asian nation to support the partition resolution at the United Nations creating a Jewish State in Palestine. Israel and the Philippines established full diplomatic relationships in 1957. Embassies were opened both in Tel-Aviv and Manila in 1962. The two countries have enjoyed warm relations in all spheres. In 1997, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) institutionalizing the bilateral political dialogue between the respective foreign ministries. The political dialogue runs parallel to the rich cooperation in trade and economy, culture, technical assistance, science, academic exchanges, tourism etc.
There are approximately 60,000 Filipino workers in Israel.
Israel-Nepal relations, first established in 1960, are based on mutual security concerns. Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal from 1959 to 1960, had a strongly pro-Israel foreign policy. King Mahendra visited Israel in 1963 and maintained Koirala's special relationship.
Singapore and Israel have strong bilateral ties and have enjoyed close relations from the outset. This is in part due to both countries' perceptions of themselves as regional economic powerhouses surrounded by much larger Islamic countries with which they have, at best, an uneasy relationship. During Singapore's sudden independence (as a consequence of being expelled from Malaysia), Singapore appealed to the international community for technical assistance and military aid. Israel responded in the affirmative, sending over a mission to jump-start Singapore's economy and to create, from scratch, Singapore's armed forces and its Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the former modeled after the IDF in both doctrine and order of battle.
Today both countries have extensive economic ties and engage in a high volume of trade, with an emphasis on technology and research and development in the spheres of bio-technology and defence.
Israel's national airline El Al does not fly to Singapore as Singapore is located in the region of Indonesia and Malaysia both of which are hostile to Israel and do not allow overflight rights for Israeli aircraft.
Israel has had diplomatic representation in Singapore since its earliest days, with representation formalised in 1968. Singapore is a regional hub for Israeli businesses, while a growing number of members of both business communities seek opportunities for joint ventures in biotechnology, IT and the software industries.
Several bilateral agreements provide a solid framework for cooperation in areas such as healthcare, defence, and technological research & development. Most recently, in 1997, a bi-national fund for financing new technological products was set up, an indicator of deepening bilateral relations between both states.
Cultural exchanges have been accentuated by encouraging the participation of Israeli artists in international events in Singapore, cultivating a broad interest in Israeli performing arts. The yearly Film Festival has grown to become a cornerstone in the structured framework of activities.
Thailand and Israel have had full diplomatic relations since 23 June 1954. The Israeli embassy was opened in 1958 while the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv was only opened as recently as 1996. Since the very beginning, both countries have enjoyed strong ties and beneficial bilateral cooperation in many different fields, most notably in agriculture and education. Thousands of Thai academics have been sent to train in Israel while many Thai schools have been modeled after Israel's experience and know-how with aid from MASHAV.
State visits by Thai royalty to Israel have been reciprocated by Israel's public figures as well as over 100,000 Israeli tourists visiting Thailand in 2003. Thousands of skilled and unskilled Thai workers are also employed in Israel while many Thai students have also been sent to study in Israel.
There is also a Thai-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Thai-Israel Friendship Foundation as well as a small community of Israelis living in Thailand.
Canada's relationship with Israel began in 1947, when Canada was represented on the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). Canada and 32 other countries voted in favor of a Jewish state, thus beginning a longstanding relationship with Israel based on a shared commitment to democratic values, understanding, and mutual respect.
The relations between Israel and the United States have evolved from an initial United States policy of sympathy and support for the creation of a Jewish state in 1948 (It was the first country to recognize the establishment of the State) to an unusual partnership that links Israel with the United States trying to balance competing interests in the Middle East region. The United States has been considered Israel's most powerful and supportive ally for almost 40 years and hosts the annual Salute to Israel Parade in New York City.
The United States is Israel's largest trading partner, accounting for 22.4% of Israel's $43.19 billion in imports, and 42.1% of Israel's $40.14 billion in exports annually (2005). The U.S. also provides Israel with $2.4 billion in military assistance annually, which is equivalent to 24.5% of Israel's military expenditures. (2005).
Micronesia is one of the most consistent supporters of Israel (along with the United States) in international affairs. Throughout the history of the United Nations General Assembly, there has always been an "automatic majority" against Israel. The United States has consistently opposed unbalanced anti-Israel resolutions and, in recent years, one other nation has joined Israels defense Micronesia.
The foreign policy goals of the Micronesia are primarily linked to achieving economic development and protecting their vast marine environment. Israel was one of the first to welcome Micronesia into the family of nations, even before it became a member of the UN. According to Micronesia's U.N. deputy ambassador, the country has since sought close bilateral relations with Israel in areas such as agriculture, technical training and health care training.
Israel has assisted Micronesia in its early development. As one Micronesian diplomat said, "We need Israeli expertise, so I dont see a change in our policy anytime soon."
New Zealand has a long history of support for Israel beginning with support for the Partition Plan in 1947. Since then, most New Zealand governments have been generally supportive of Israel. The diplomatic relationship between New Zealand and Israel has deteriorated, however, in recent years. After 53 years of full diplomatic relations, the Israeli Embassy in Wellington was closed in 2002. At one time there were four missions in the South Pacific area in Canberra, Sydney, Wellington and Suva in Fiji. Presently, only Canberra remains open, which is now responsible for New Zealand-Israeli Relations.
The closure in 2004 of the Embassy in Wellington is due to $5.4 million in cost-cuts by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, but it is difficult to pinpoint the cause to weakened relations. Speculation has been made that as trade with Arab countries is a major player in industry in New Zealand, foreign policy may be affected. In June 2004, the New Zealand Government openly criticized Israels policy of bulldozing Palestinian homes and donated $534,000 to aid homeless Palestinians.
A bigger scandal emerged in mid-2004, which led to a more serious deterioration in the relationship. Two suspected Mossad agents were jailed for three months and paid a $35,000 fine for trying on false grounds to obtain a New Zealand passport. High-level visits between the two countries were subsequently cancelled, visa restrictions imposed for Israeli officials, and an expected visit to New Zealand by Israeli president Moshe Katsav was cancelled. More than a year later, Israel apologized and New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that it was time to resume friendly diplomatic relations with Israel.
Israel has had diplomatic relations with Cyprus since Israels independence in 1948, when Cyprus was a British protectorate. Israel and Cyprus associations have continued to expand since 1960, the year of Cyprus independence. The neighboring countries trade regularly and there are high flows of tourism between them. However, Cypriot politicians have frequently spoken out against Israeli military raids in the Palestinian territories as well as the 2006 Lebanon War, during which Cyprus was forced to manage a heavy flow of refugees and aid out of and in to Lebanon.
In the early 1950s, France and Israel maintained close political and military ties. France was Israel's main weapons supplier until the Six-Day War in June 1967. Under Charles de Gaulle, France grew highly critical of Israeli policies and imposed an arms embargo on Israel. Under Francois Mitterrand in the early 1980s, French-Israeli relations improved greatly. Mitterand was the first French president to visit Israel while in office.
Germany has become a prime supplier of arms to Israel, including Dolphin submarines. The military co-operation has been discreet but mutually profitable: Israeli intelligence, for example, sent captured Warsaw Pact armour to West Germany to be analysed. The results aided the German development of an anti-tank system.
Relations between Israel and Georgia are, as of 2008, close. Georgia's defense minister, Davit Kezerashvili is a former Israeli. Israel has been selling weapons to Georgia for seven years financed by grants from the USA Included in these weapons are Israeli-built spy drones provided through the former mayor of Tel Aviv, Roni Milo, which flew into Russia and Iran Israeli advisors, estimated to number between 100 - 1,000, have trained the Geogian military for some time. Also, two airfields in Georgia have been earmarked for possible use by Israeli bombers in case of an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Both Greece and Turkey recognized the State of Israel in the late 1940s, but were diplomatically represented in Tel Aviv on lower-than-embassy levels. Still, largely for strategic reasons, Israel and Turkey maintained fairly close relations while only interaction between Israel and Greece was minimal. Over the years, Greek relations with Israel have been complicated by the rivalry between Greece and Turkey.
In September 1998, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai denied that Turkey's visiting Prime Minister was seeking Israeli support should fighting break out with Greece over Cyprus.Turkish-Israeli cooperation is not against any other country, Mesut Yilmaz said during a welcoming ceremony with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Greek-Israeli relations were stagnant for almost 45 years. Changes began to occur in 1995 due to several factors. One was Greece's desire to increase its deterrent power vis-a-vis Turkey. Another element was the death of the pro-PLO Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou in June 1996. The improvement in U.S.-Greece relations also encouraged a shift toward Israel, as did the progress in the Middle East Peace negotiations.
The improvement in relations was reflected in the increase in trade, which doubled between 1989 and 1995. That year Israel exported $200 million worth of chemicals and oil products to Greece and imported $150 million worth of cement, food, and building materials. Israel is, in fact, the Middle Easts second largest importer for Greek products.
A Greek-Israeli cooperation agreement on military affairs was concluded as early as December 1994 (predating the Turkish-Israeli agreement of February 1996); however, both sides refrained from activating the agreement. Greece was apparently concerned about alienating the Arab world while Israel did not wish to upset the Turks. Greece and Israel agreed to hold joint naval maneuvers at the end of the summer 1997, but they were indefinitely postponed by the Greeks. The reason given for the postponement was that the Greek navy was busy preventing infiltrations from Albania, and it could not spare a frigate for the exercises.
Full diplomatic relations between Ireland and Israel were established in 1975. As of 2006, the Israeli ambassador to Ireland was Zion Evrony, and the Irish ambassador to Israel was Michael Forbes.
The Irish government followed a similar line to other EU governments during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, with the Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, condemning the actions of Israel as "reckless and disproportionate" and calling for an immediate ceasefire on both sides, while also condemning the actions of Hezbollah. During the conflict, a shipment of bombs that attempted to land in the Republic of Ireland from USA to Tel Aviv was denied use of Irish airspace and airfields by the Irish Government. The weapons were part of a series of agreed arms shipments between the United States Government and Israel. The shipments were diverted via Scotland, where they also caused controversy.
Relations between Italy and Israel, traditionally intense, remain strong to this day. There are frequent visits to both countries by respective diplomats, whilst trade is significant. The Israeli Government has followed with great attention the fight against international terrorism pursued by the Italian Government . It has also been appreciated what the Italian Presidency has done in the framework of the United Nations on the Middle Eastern issues. Israel also welcomed the coherent and firm line of conduct, in contrasting the emergence of anti-Semitism in every possible form taken by the Italian government.
Italian Culture enjoys a very high standing in Israel with Israelis frequently visiting Italy for education, work, tourism, and scientific and artistic exchanges. In the last ten years 105 books of Italian authors were translated from Italian to Hebrew. A strong community of Italian Jews who have immigrated to Israel have strengthened cultural ties and promoted Italian culture in the country. The Italian Cultural Institute recently initiated and organized a series of activities in the Cultural Center of the Jews of Libyan Origin in Or Yehuda, where recently a course of the Italian language has been launched.
The Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute recently stimulated the creation of a Friends of Italy association which consists of more than 15,000 people. In 2004 the negotiations for the new triennial protocol (2004-2007) of the Bilateral Accord in the Cultural Sector in force as of November 1971. The Italian Cultural Institute operates in Israel as of 1960 with its principal office at Tel Aviv and a separated section in Haifa. The Italian language is being taught in various centers around the country. The total number of students studying in centers under the direct control of the Italian Cultural Institute on 2004 reached 1500, in 150 courses with 30 teachers. If the Dante Alighieri Society courses are considered, the figure reaches 2500 students.
Recently, the possibility of introducing the teaching of the Italian language in various high schools and academic institutes has been successfully negotiated. For the academic year 2005-2006 the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv has achieved an agreement with the Interdisciplinary Center di Herzelya for the opening of three academic courses of Italian Culture and Language. Italian is also being taught in four of the seven universities in Israel: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv University, the Ben Gurion University in Be'er Sheva and the Haifa University. The average of registrations of young Israeli students to Italian universities stands on about 400 per year, mainly in the sectors of medicine, law, science, politics, architecture, and art. The registrations for courses for the academic year 2004-2005 have seen a major increase of about 10%.
In November 1947, Luxembourg voted in favor of the partition plan to create a Jewish state. Israel and Luxembourg established full diplomatic relations in 1949. Due to Luxembourg's small size, the Israeli embassy is located in Brussels and Luxembourg is represented politically by the Dutch embassy and economically by the Belgian embassy.
Israel and Spain have maintained diplomatic ties since 1986. Relations have been tense since August 2006, after Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero attended a protest rally against the war in Lebanon wearing a keffiyeh around his neck. Nevertheless, Israeli exports to Spain are on the rise, totalling $870 million in 2006, and Israeli firms doing business with Spain include the Dead Sea Works, Haifa Chemicals, Amdocs, Comverse and Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Also the Spanish foreign minister is going to arrive in Israel for official visit in May 2008. [*]
The establishment of the State of Israel is closely linked with Switzerland: The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel in 1897. In addition, 15 other congresses out of a total of 22 were also held in Switzerland. Before the establishment of the State of Israel in Palestine, Switzerland maintained a consulate in Jerusalem (accredited to the British Mandate) and a consular agency in Tel Aviv. It recognized the new state in 1949 and opened a consulate in Tel Aviv. This consulate was upgraded to an embassy in 1958. The Swiss community in Israel is the largest in the Asian region, totalling around 12,000 persons.
Israel is one of Switzerland's most important export markets in the Middle East. Bilateral agreements govern relations in many different areas: air connections (1952), trade (1956), extradition (1958), handling of disputes in composition, judicial and arbitration proceedings (1965), abolishment of visas (1967), social security (1984) and double taxation (2002). Since 1993 there has been a free trade agreement between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Israel. After escalation of the Middle East conflict, Switzerland halted arms sales and military cooperation with Israel for several years (2002-2005). This led to a certain cooling off in bilateral relations. Since 2004 there has been regular political dialogue between Switzerland and Israel.
Switzerland has represented Israel's interests in numerous countries such as in Hungary (1967-1989), Guinea (1967-1973), Ceylon/Sri Lanka (1970-1976), Madagascar (1973-1994), Liberia (1973-1983) and Ghana (1973-2002). Conversely, it has represented the interests of Iran (1958-1987) and the Ivory Coast (1973-1986) in Israel. Today it is committed to a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict and respect for international humanitarian law. By supporting programmes for civilian peace-building and dialogue projects, including the Geneva Initiative, Switzerland contributes to the peaceful coexistence of nations in the Middle East. It has also lobbied successfully for inclusion of Magen David Adom in the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.
Alongside the United States, Turkey is a close ally of Israel. Turkey was the first Muslim-majority nation to formally recognize the State of Israel, only one year after the Declaration of the Jewish State (March 28 1949). Israel has been a major supplier of arms to Turkey. Military, strategic, and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel is accorded high priority by the governments of both countries, which share concerns with respect to the regional instabilities in the Middle East. One explanation for the close relationship is that Israel and Turkey are both Western-style, pluralist democracies in a region (Middle-East) where both countries are ethnically and linguistically isolated. Although diplomatic relations have soured over the past few years, the two countries have patched-up their minor differences, marking a return to good ties that were severely strained in February 2006 when Turkey hosted a delegation from the Palestinian group Hamas.
On a formal visit to Turkey in 2006, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated that "Bilateral relations [between Turkey and Israel] are excellent. Not only on a leader-to-leader level but also on a people-to-people level".
A Turkish diplomat, Selahattin Ulkumen, is honoured as one of the Righteous Among The Nations for his work in rescuing Jews from Nazi officials on the island of Cyprus, by issuing them Turkish visas and later arranging for their transport to Turkish territory. Another diplomat, Necdet Kent, also rescued Jews from Nazi authorities, for which he was awarded a special medal by the government of the State of Israel.
Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc
The Soviet Union voted in favor of the 1947 UN Partition Plan (Resolution 181) which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel. Within 11 minutes of Israel's declaration of independence, it was recognized by the United States. The Soviet Union followed soon after, along with most of the other Western powers.
The Soviet Union and the other communist states of Eastern Europe (with the exception of Romania) cut diplomatic ties with Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. Relations were restored in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, despite the fact that hostile Arab countries such as Syria also maintain close ties with Russia. Russia is known to supply Syria with weapons.
Israel has full diplomatic relations with Egypt (the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty was signed in 1979), Jordan (the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace was signed in 1994) and Mauritania and trade relations with Qatar. If a person's passport shows any evidence of travel to Israel, barring a diplomatic passport, they are forbidden entry to the majority of Arab and Muslim states.''
On October 1, 1994, the Gulf States publicly announced their support for a review of the Arab boycott, in effect abolishing the secondary and tertiary boycotts against Israel. Israel has diplomatic relations with 9 non-Arab Muslim states and with 39 of the 43 Sub-Saharan African states that are not members of the Arab League.
Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, diplomats had been discussing the possibility of improved relations between Israel and Iraq. However, then-Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi said in 2004 that Iraq would not establish ties with Israel.
In 2005, Saudi Arabia announced the end of its ban on Israeli goods and services, mostly due to its application to the World Trade Organization, where one member country cannot have a total ban on another. However, as of summer 2006 Saudi boycott was not cancelled.
Tensions between Syria and Israel rose following Israel's execution of Operation Orchard on September 6, 2007. Israel bombed a northern Syrian complex near Dayr az-Zawr which was suspected of holding nuclear materials from North Korea.
Colombia and Israel established formal relations in the mid-1950s. In recent years,
Colombia has purchased planes, drones, weapons and intelligence systems from Israel. An Israeli company, Global CST won a $10 million contract in Colombia.
Mexico and Israel have had diplomatic relations since January 1950. Throughout the years, they have maintained close relations with each other. In 2000, a free trade agreement was signed between the two nations.
Relations have historically been strong, but the bilateral ties have soured under the Presidency of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The Jewish population in Venezuela, which peaked at 45,000,Halvorssen, Thor. Hurricane Hugo. The Weekly Standard, August 8, 2005, Volume 010, Issue 44. Also available at LookSmart. is now below 15,000 "as a result of severe instability in the country", according to the Israeli Stephen Roth Institute. The Miami Herald, Jewish Times, and Jewish organizations have reported large-scale emigration of Jewish people from Venezuela during the Chavez administration.Berrios, Jerry. S. Fla. Venezuelans: Chavez incites anti-Semitism. Miami Herald . As a result of the June/July 2006 battles in the Gaza Strip, Venezuela withdrew its ambassador to Israel. The embassy itself remains open and operational [*]
The first international organization which the Israeli government joined was the International Wheat Council, established as part of Point Four Program in early 1949. Since May 11, 1949, the State of Israel is a member the United Nations.
Israel is a member of many agencies within the UN, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Israel also participates in other international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Within the UNESCO, Israel is a member of the scientific council of the Informatics program, an active member in the International Hydrologic Plan (IHP) and an active member of the Man and Biosphere programme (MAB).
Israel has joined the European Union Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development
and is a member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN),
the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF),
the European Laboratory and Organization for Molecular Biology (EMBP/EMBL/EMBC),
the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI) since 1994,
the International Network for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.
Israel is, as of May 2007, a trial member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Israel is a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue with NATO.
History of Israel
Jerusalem Embassy Act
Accession of Israel to the European Union
Israeli diplomatic missions
Ambassadors from Israel
List of diplomatic missions in Israel
Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
1949 Armistice Agreements
Camp David Accords (1978)
Madrid Conference of 1991
Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace (1994)
Oslo Accords (1993)
Camp David 2000 Summit
Peace Process in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Projects working for peace among Israelis and Arabs
List of Middle East peace proposals
International law and the Arab-Israeli conflict
US-Israeli Relations from the Jewish Virtual Library.
Conservative Friends of Israel (United Kingdom)
Labour Friends of Israel (United Kingdom)
Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel (United Kingdom)