Foreign relations of Israel

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The term "foreign relations of Israel" refers to diplomatic, commercial and cultural ties between the State of Israel and other countries around the world. Israel joined the United Nations on 11 May 1949. Israel maintains diplomatic ties with 157 countries.[1] Israel maintains full diplomatic relations and open borders with two of its Arab neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, after signing peace treaties in 1979 and 1994 respectively.

The close friendship with the United States has been the linchpin of Israeli foreign policy for decades. From the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 until the Iranian Revolution and the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, Israel and Iran maintained close ties. Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation after Turkey.[2][3] In the mid-20th century, Israel ran extensive foreign aid and educational programs in Africa, sending experts in agriculture, water management and health care.[4]

During the 2000s, the foreign ministry warned that the increasing influence of the EU would further isolate Israel in global affairs.[5][6] In the wake of a series of diplomatic rifts with Turkey and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 2011, Israel has had less than friendly relations with those countries.[7] During roughly the same period, Israeli relations with many countries in Europe including Greece and Cyprus in the context of the Energy Triangle and in Asia, including China and India, were enhanced, largely on account of the growth of Israel's high-tech economy.[8] Israeli ties with Egypt have improved since the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power there, while ties to Turkey have been uneven since their 2010 nadir but less dismal than that point.

Membership in international organizations

Israeli flag at the United Nations building in New York

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 11 May 1949, the State of Israel has been a member of 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).[9]

Within the UNESCO, Israel is a member in many international programmes and organizations. In the area of science Israel is an active member of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the International Centre for Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), and the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP). Other notable organizations Israel is an active member of include the Education For All movement, the European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES), the World Heritage Committee (WHC), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).[10] Relations are carried out through the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO.[11]

Israel has joined the European Union's Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (FP) in 1994,[12] and is a member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN),[13] the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).[14] It is also a member of the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) since 2003.[15]

On 10 May 2010, Israel was invited to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).[16] Israel is a member of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue forum.[17] In 2014 Israel joined the Paris Club.[18]

Diplomatic relations

World map showing status of Israel's diplomatic relations.

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Israel was subjected to Arab League boycotts and attempts to diplomatically isolate the state. Today, Israel has diplomatic ties with 157 out of the other 192 member states of the United Nations as well as with non-member Holy See (Vatican City) and the European Union.[1] Some states recognize Israel as a state, but have no diplomatic relations. Several countries once had diplomatic relations with Israel, but have since broken or suspended them (Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela in Latin America; Mauritania in the Arab League; Chad, Mali and Niger in non-Arab Africa; and Iran until the Islamic revolution). Some of these countries have since resumed relations. In addition, a number of countries (all members of the Arab League) that at one time had formal economic ties (primarily trade offices) with Israel that fell short of full diplomatic relations, have severed such ties (Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Tunisia).

No recognition or diplomatic relations

Countries that do not recognize the state of Israel.

Member states of the UN

At present, a total of 31 United Nations member states do not recognize or generally / partially do not maintain diplomatic relations with the State of Israel: 18 of the 21 UN members in the Arab League: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen (the exceptions are bordering countries Egypt and Jordan); a further 10 members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Chad, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Niger, and Pakistan; and Bhutan, Cuba, and North Korea.[19] Some of these countries accept Israeli passports and acknowledge other indications of Israeli sovereignty. The following are the UN member states with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations (period of former relations marked in parenthesis):

Algeria; Chad (1960–1972); Comoros; Djibouti; Libya; Mali (1960–1973); Morocco (1994–2000); Mauritania[20] (2000–2009); Niger (1960–1973, 1996–2002); Somalia; Sudan; and Tunisia[1] (1996–2000),
(Algeria,[21] Libya,[22] Somalia[23][24][25] and Sudan[26] do not recognise Israel.)
Bolivia[27] (1950–2009); Cuba,[26][28] (1950–1973); Nicaragua[29] (1948–1982, 1992–2010) (relations currently suspended, not severed[30]); and Venezuela[31] (1950–2009).
North Korea.[32] (Does not recognise Israel as a state.)[33]
Bahrain (1996–2000); Iran (1948–1951, 1953–1979); Iraq; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman (1996–2000); Qatar[20] (1996–2009); Saudi Arabia; Syria; United Arab Emirates; and Yemen.
(Iran,[34] Iraq,[35] Kuwait,[26] Lebanon,[26] Saudi Arabia,[26] Syria,[26][36] United Arab Emirates,[37] and Yemen[26] do not recognise Israel.)
Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan (which has diplomatic relations with only 53 countries[38]); and Pakistan.
(Afghanistan,[39] Bangladesh,[40] and Pakistan[26] do not recognise Israel as a state.)
Brunei; Malaysia;[26] and Indonesia,[26][40][41]
(None of these countries recognise Israel.)

Non-members of the UN

Tzipi Livni shaking hands with Salam Fayyad, 2008

Israel has no diplomatic relations with the following states or entities:

Abkhazia; Kosovo; Nagorno-Karabakh; Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; State of Palestine; Sahrawi Republic (which does not recognise Israel as a state); Somaliland; South Ossetia; and Transnistria. (Israel has not recognised the independence of any of these entities.)

Partial recognition

Comoros has no official diplomatic ties with Israel but the countries engage in mutual trade.[42]

Although the Israeli diplomatic missions in Bahrain, Morocco, and Oman were closed in 2000, trade and economic ties continue. Israeli tourism to Morocco is encouraged by the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry, a non-governmental private Jewish organization.[43]

Israeli citizens are admitted into North Korea with Israeli passports, but like other foreign visitors they are asked to deposit their passport with the local authorities and use specially issued local documents for tourists.[44]

North Africa and Middle East

On 1 October 1994, the Persian Gulf states announced their support for a review of the Arab boycott, abolishing the secondary and tertiary boycotts against Israel.


In the mid-1990s, while Israel and North African states slowly started diplomatic relations, Algeria remained one of the last countries to consider such a move. It was only when Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak met Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika at the funeral of the Moroccan King Hasan II on 25 July 1999 that comments about rapprochement were made.

Algeria and Israel do not have diplomatic relations.


Relations are generally tense and the two states do not have diplomatic relations. Like other Arab states, Bahrain does not recognize Israel. A brief period of warming in relations occurred in the mid-1990s.

In 2011, amid Arab spring uprising, Wikileaks cables published on Haaretz revealed some of the hidden relations between Bahraini and Israeli officials. In a meeting with the U.S. ambassador in February 2005, Bahrain's king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa had bragged about having contact with Israel's national intelligence agency, Mossad. He indicated that Bahrain is ready to develop relations in other fields as well. The king reportedly gave orders that official statements don't use phrases such as "enemy" and "Zionist entity" when referring to Israel anymore. However, he refused the idea of having trade relations, saying it was "too early" and would be postponed until the establishment of an independent Palestine state.[45]


Israel has had full diplomatic relations with Egypt since the signing of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty in 1979. Following the end of the regime of Hosni Mubarak during the 2011 Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood announced that the peace treaty with Israel may be put to a referendum.[46]

According to an Egyptian Government 2006 poll of 1000 Egyptians (taken at the time of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict), 92% of Egyptians view Israel as an enemy nation.[47][48] In Israel, the 1978 Camp David Accords were supported by 85% of Israelis, according to a 2001 poll taken by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, based in Israel.[49]

Egypt has mediated several unofficial ceasefire understandings between Israel and Palestinians.


Iranian minister Reza Saffinia visiting the home of Israeli president Chaim Weizmann, 1950.

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. While Iran was the first Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel,[50] the two states do not currently have diplomatic relations with each other, due to Iran's withdrawal of its recognition of Israel. The post-1979 Iranian authorities avoid referring to Israel by its name, and instead use the terms "the Zionist regime" or "occupied Palestine". Iranian passports bear an inscription that says, "The bearer of this passport is forbidden from traveling to occupied Palestine."[51]

Due to recent rhetoric between Iran and Israel, development of nuclear technology, and funding of the groups Hamas and Hezbollah, tensions have risen dramatically between the State of Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran,[52] especially after the election of the hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. Comments made by Ahmadinejad[53][54][55][56][57][58][59] were perceived by Israel as threat of destruction.[60][61][62][63]

A large population of Iranian Jews reside in Israel, among them former President of Israel Moshe Katsav, former Chief of Staff / Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, and former Chief of staff Dan Halutz.


Following the American-British led 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.[64]


In 2006, the president of KRG Kurdistan Regional Government Massoud Barzani said: "It is not a crime to have relations with Israel. If Baghdad established diplomatic relations with Israel, we could open a consulate in Hewlêr (Kurdistan)." Israeli television broadcast photographs from the 1960s showing Mustafa Barzani embracing then Israeli defense minister Moshe Dayan. In 2004, Israeli officials met with Kurdish political leaders. In 2006 the BBC reported that Israel was training Kurdish militias in Iraqi Kurdistan.[65] In April 2012, it was alleged that high-ranking Kurdish officials had collected the revenues of Iraqi oil that had been smuggled to Israel via the Kurdistan Region.[66]


King Hussein, U.S. President Bill Clinton and Yitzhak Rabin, Israel-Jordan peace treaty

Israel has full diplomatic relations in peace with Jordan since the signing of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace in 1994, but relations remain somewhat tense.


Relations between Israel and Kuwait are generally hostile, mainly as part of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Kuwait does not recognize Israel and refuses entry to any person who holds an Israeli passport or Israel travel documents. Like many Arab countries, Kuwait opposes normalizing ties with Israel.


According to Laura Zittrain Eisenberg, the author of "My Enemy's Enemy", the pre-state Zionist attention to Lebanon consisted primarily of repeated attempts to establish a political alliance between the Jewish community in Palestine and the Maronite Catholic Community in Lebanon. Largely neglected by traditional scholarship on the Arab-Israeli condition, the Zionist-Lebanese relationship from 1900 to 1948 was surprisingly active and amicable. Zionist curiosity was naturally piqued by Lebanon, an Arab country with a sizable non-Muslim population enjoying political predominance.

During the war of 1975–1990, some right-wing militias were Israel's allies, and after the assassination of President Bachir Gemayel, Israel and Lebanon signed an agreement on May 17, 1983 which was a peace treaty in all but name. The Lebanese legislature ratified the treaty by a margin of 80 votes, but in a very weak and unstable domestic position president Amine Gemayel abrogated the peace treaty on March 5, 1984 under unrelenting Syrian pressure, after the U.S. Marines withdrew and after Israel had begun withdrawing from Lebanon.

During the Syrian Occupation of Lebanon (1976–2005), it was highly unlikely that Lebanon would sign a peace treaty with Israel before Syria, as Syria's influence on Lebanese politics was strong; however, the Syrian Occupation withdrew from Lebanon, yet the Iran–Syria–Hezbollah axis remained through the heavy arms presence.

During the 90's, the success of the First Persian Gulf War created new opportunities for Middle East peacemaking. However, Lebanon was under the Syrian Occupation, which took over the treaties and negotiations.

In August 2006, after the clash between Hezbollah and Israel, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said that Lebanon would be the "last Arab country to make peace with Israel" because of the large number of civilians that were killed in the 2006 Lebanon War.[67] Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy in Lebanon, proclaims "Death to Israel" and promises the "liberation" of Jerusalem, even though many Lebanese social fractions and political parties in Lebanon neither agree with his vision nor with the strategy and practices of his armed party.

Since the year 2000, and due to many wars with Hezbollah, Israel treats Lebanon as an "enemy state",[68] although it is considering the possibility of a non-aggression pact.

In 2008 A Pew Research Center survey found that negative views concerning Jews were most common in Lebanon, with 97% of Lebanese having unfavorable opinion of Jews.[69] In a 2011 survey again by the Pew Research Center, all of the Muslim-majority Middle Eastern countries polled held strongly negative views of Jews. In the questionnaire, only 3% of Lebanese reported having a positive view of Jews.[70]


Moroccan expeditionary forces fought alongside a coalition of Arab countries in the Yom Kippur War against Israel.[71] In 1986, King Hassan II invited then Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres for talks, becoming the second Arab leader to host an Israeli leader. Following the September 1993 signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles, Morocco accelerated its economic ties and political contacts with Israel. In September 1994, Morocco and Israel announced the opening of bilateral liaison offices. When the king died in 1999, then-prime minister Ehud Barak and the Moroccan-born foreign minister David Levy flew to Rabat for his funeral.[72] The foreign offices were closed in 2000 following sustained Israeli-Palestinian violence.

There is a Postage stamp with picture of a King of Morocco in collection of State of Israel.


Qatar and Israel do not currently have diplomatic relations, although they maintained economic relations between 1996 and 2000. Qatar is a major financial supporter of the anti-Israel militant group Hamas.

Saudi Arabia

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 August 2006, the Saudi boycott was not cancelled.[73][74][75]

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has changed its viewpoint concerning the validity of negotiating with Israel. It calls for Israel's withdrawal from territory occupied in June 1967 in order for peace with the Arab states; then-Crown Prince Abdullah extended a multilateral peace proposal based on withdrawal in 2002. At that time, Israel did not respond to the offer. In 2007 Saudi Arabia again officially supported a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict which supported a full right of Palestinian refugees to move to Israel, which generated more official negative reactions from Israeli authorities.


Syria's relations with Israel are very poor, due to Syria's close ties with the anti-Israel militant group Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Since 2004, Syria has accepted the import of apples from farmers in the Golan Heights, territory that it claims, through the Quneitra crossing. This was a result of the ongoing Israeli refusal to accept apples from Golan farmers (reportedly due to over-supply), which led to a plea by the farmers to the Syrian government to accept their produce before it became spoiled in order to prevent economic collapse. In 2010, some 10,000 tons of apples grown by Druze farmers in the Golan Heights were sent to Syria.[76]


Tunisia participated in the Yom Kippur War, sending 1,000-2,000 troops to fight alongside a coalition of Arab countries against Israel.[77] The relations worsened further in the early 2000s when the Second Intifada began, and on 22 Oct 2000, the state radio of Tunisia declared that President Ben Ali had decided to break all diplomatic ties with Israel following the "violence in the Palestinian-controlled territories".[78] On 21 Oct, Ben Ali had issued a strong condemnation of "the violation of the holy shrine of Al Quds Al Sharif, the repeated Israeli provocations, the use of weapons against innocent children and defenseless people, and the racist persecution of Arab Palestinian citizens", which "constitute flagrant violations of sanctities and human rights, and a blatant aggression against all human values and practices". On 22 Oct itself Israel expressed its disappointment at the Tunisian decision to sever relations and to close the Tunisian Interest Office in Tel Aviv and the Israeli Interest Office in Tunis. Expressing "surprise", the Israeli Foreign Ministry said: "It appears that Tunisia has elected to renounce its potential role as a bridge for dialogue between Israel and its neighbours, thereby harming the critical effort to promote regional peace".[79]


Turkish firefighting plane sent to aid Israel, 2010

Turkey was the first Muslim-majority nation to formally recognize the State of Israel,[50] only one year after the Declaration of the Jewish State (28 March 1949). Israel was a major supplier of arms to Turkey. Military, strategic, and diplomatic cooperation between Turkey and Israel were given high priority by the governments of both countries, which shared concerns with respect to regional instabilities in the Middle East.

Relations have been strained since the turn of the 20th to 21st century as a result of the political decline in Turkey of forces based on the secular Kemalist ideology and the corresponding rise of the Justice and Development Party (AK party) of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In February 2006, relations between Turkey and Israel suffered when Turkey hosted a delegation from the Palestinian group Hamas, although on a formal visit to Turkey in 2006, the Israeli then 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".

In January 2009, the Turkish government's condemnation of the 2008–09 Gaza War severely strained relations between the two countries. Erdoğan harshly criticized Israel's conduct in Gaza at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland in early 2009[80][81]

Relations between the two countries were further strained after the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid.[82] On 2 September 2011, Turkey downgraded ties with Israel to second secretary level and suspended military co-operation between the countries.[83] Turkey has demanded an apology from Israel over the flotilla incident, which Israel has shown interest in providing, but Turkey has also demanded Israel end its blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which Israel has stated is a non-possibility. The chances of any improvement in relations is unlikely in the near future as it appears the political leadership in both countries, and their mutual dislike, will remain in place for a while.

The Leviathan gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean is a further source of friction. Israel is planning its exploitation in partnership with Cyprus, a state that Turkey does not recognize because of the Cyprus dispute. However, in 2015, Turkey and Israel began to work on diplomatic relations by holding a secret meeting.

United Arab Emirates

Relations are typically tense. No Israeli citizens allowed entry following the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh even if entering using a foreign passport. United Arab Emirates does not recognize Israel as a state, and the two countries do not have diplomatic and economic relations. More recently, they have improved to the extent that Israel has decided to open an office in Abu Dhabi, albeit only as a mission to the International Renewable Energy Agency.[84][85]


They do not have diplomatic relations and relations between the two countries are very tense. People with an Israeli passport or any passport with an Israeli stamp cannot enter Yemen, and Yemen is defined as an "enemy state" by Israeli law.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Israel has diplomatic relations with 41 of the 44 Sub-Saharan African states that are not members of the Arab League, including a number of Muslim-majority states.


Relations between Israel and Angola are based on trade and foreign policy. In 2005, President José Eduardo dos Santos visited Israel. In March 2006, the trade volume between the two countries amounted to $400 million. The Israeli ambassador to Angola is Avraham Benjamin.


The two countries established relations in 1993. Neither has a formal consulate or embassy in the other country, but the two governments have cooperated on several development initiatives. Six Israeli-centered diamond companies have operations in Botswana.[86]


H.E. Mr. Henri Etoundi Essomba, Ambassador of Cameroon to Israel in 2012, serves as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Israel[87]

Relations were cut off in the wake of the Yom Kippur war, but restored in 1986, and Cameroon and Israel now have many military and political ties, with Israel training and arming Cameroon's rapid reaction forces[88] and Cameroon voting against many anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.[89]


Although Israel does not have diplomatic or official trade relations with Djibouti (a member of the Arab League), following a meeting between officials of both countries in September 1995, plans were then announced to open liaison offices in the respective countries' capitals, prior to the possible establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states.[90] However, such relations did not materialize.


Eritrea developed relations with Israel shortly after gaining its independence in 1993, despite protests among Arab countries. Israeli-Eritrean relations are close. The president of Eritrea has visited Israel for medical treatment.[91] However, Eritrea condemned Israeli military action during the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict.[92] Israeli-Eritrean ties are complicated by Israel's close ties to Ethiopia.


In Africa, Ethiopia is Israel's main and closest ally in the continent, due to common political, religious and security interests.[93] However, relations were severed between the years 1973 and 1989. Many towns in Ethiopia are named after biblical Israel settlements, including Ethiopia's third largest city of Nazret (Adama). Israel also provides expertise to Ethiopia on irrigation projects. Thousands of Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) live in Israel.


Diplomatic relations with Ghana were established immediately following Ghanaian independence in 1957. Agreement on technical cooperation was concluded on 25 May 1962. On 24 May 1968, a trade agreement was concluded. A cultural cooperation agreement was concluded on 1 March 1973.

Relations were broken at the initiative of the government of Ghana on 28 October 1973, following the Yom Kippur war.[94] Improvement in relations followed Israeli attempts to prevent Ghanaian support for the Palestinian Authority, which led to a state visit to Ghana by Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman in September 2009. During that visit, a bilateral agreement for agricultural cooperation was signed.[95][96] Diplomatic relations were restored in September 2011.[97]


Diplomatic relations between Israel and the Republic of Guinea were established in 1958, and were strained due to the Cold War, as the Israeli government supported US policy while the government of Guinea took a pro-Soviet line. These relations were broken on June 5, 1967 when war broke out between Israel and Egypt in the Six Day War. After Israel's support to Guinea during its fight against the Ebola virus,[98] relations between the two states were restored on July 20, 2016.[99]


Diplomatic relations were established in December 1963. Israel has an embassy in Nairobi and Kenya has an embassy in Tel Aviv. In 2003, Kenya requested Israel's help in developing a national solar energy program.[100] In 2006, Israel sent an 80-person search-and-rescue team to Kenya to save people trapped in rubble when a multistory building collapsed.[101] Following the 2007 Kenyan presidential election Israel donated medicine to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.[102]


Lesotho was one of only three Sub-Saharan black African states (the others being Malawi and Swaziland) that maintained full diplomatic relations with Israel in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973.[103]


Liberia was one of the African nations to vote 'yes' to Israel becoming an independent and sovereign nation and Jewish state.


Israel established diplomatic relations with Malawi in July 1964,[1] immediately following that country achieving independence from the United Kingdom. Malawi was one of only three Sub-Saharan black African states (the others being Lesotho and Swaziland) that continued to maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and has never severed such ties.[103]


Mauritania declared war on Israel as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War,[104] following the Arab League's collective decision (Mauritania was not admitted to the League until November 1973[105]), and did not reverse that declaration until at least 1991[104] and, for some 32 years in about early-mid-1999. Israelis were seemingly oblivious to the ongoing state of war.[104]

Mauritania did not abide by moves to recognise Israel's right to exist in the same way as most other Arab countries, after the earlier 1967 Khartoum Resolution.

Little public information exists, and it must be inferred from behind the scenes meetings between Mauritania and Israel in 1995 and 1996 said to be at the instigation of Mauritania's President Ould Taya;[106] the establishment of unofficial "interest sections" in the respective Spanish embassies in 1996 in the two capital cities,[106] leading to; the exchange of diplomatic representatives in each other's countries from 27 October 1999;[107] that Mauritania had reversed its declaration by then.

On 6 March 2009, the Israeli diplomatic delegation to Mauritania left after nine years of diplomatic ties, following a demand from the Mauritanian authorities to close the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott within 48 hours.[108] The Mauritanian delegation to Israel left earlier without sending official notice to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[109]




Israel and Nigeria established diplomatic relations in 1960 . In 1973, Nigeria broke off contacts with Israel, but in May 1992, bilateral relations were restored.[1] Since April 1993, Israel has maintained an embassy in Abuja, and Nigeria has maintained an embassy in Tel Aviv.[1] Many Nigerians go on religious pilgrimage to Israel.


Relations with Rwanda were established soon following independence of the African state. They were broken by the government of Rwanda on 8 October 1973, during the Yom Kippur war.[110]


Relations with Senegal were established soon following independence of the African state. They were broken by the government of Senegal on 28 October 1973, following the Yom Kippur war.[94] In a trilateral partnership between Israel, Italy and Senegal, Israeli drip irrigation systems are being installed to help farmers in 12 districts of rural Senegal.[111]

South Africa

Danny Ayalon with South African Foreign Affairs DG Matjila

The Union of South Africa was one of only four Commonwealth nations to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution, which led to the establishment of the State of Israel. South Africa was one of the first states to recognize Israel; diplomatic relations between Israel and South Africa were established in 1948. After the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, Israel became a harsh critic of apartheid, leading to a break in its relations with Pretoria. After 1967, Israel and South Africa became strategic partners again, and this lasted until 1987 when Israel joined the West in forcefully opposing apartheid.

Since the end of apartheid, South Africa's new government has been cold toward Israel and critical of Israel's policies towards Palestinians but has nevertheless ignored calls from pro-Palestinian South African groups to sever relations between the two countries.

South Sudan

Israel recognized the Republic of South Sudan on 10 July 2011, and offered the new state economic help, following its declaration of independence the previous day from the mainly Arab Muslim north Sudan.[112] On 15 July 2011, South Sudan declared its intention to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel[113] and, on 28 July 2011, it was announced that full diplomatic ties had been established between the two countries.[114] On 28 July 2011, Israel and South Sudan announced the establishment of full diplomatic relations.[114]


Israel established diplomatic relations with Swaziland in September 1968,[1] immediately following that country achieving independence from the United Kingdom. Swaziland was one of only three Sub-Saharan black African states (the others being Lesotho and Malawi) that continued to maintain full diplomatic relations with Israel in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and has never severed such ties.[103]


In May 2009, Israel and Togo signed a "pact for cooperation in the economic, agricultural and educational fields" with each other.[115]


In a joint Israeli-Ugandan project, a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Agriculture conducted a survey of Lake Victoria with a Ugandan colleague from Makerere University. They found that Nile perch, introduced by the British sixty years ago, have decimated native fish populations, leading to malnutrition in the lakeside communities.[116] She helped to set up artificial fish ponds to raise carp, which had disappeared from the local diet. The United States Agency for International Development sponsored the digging of the ponds and sent villagers to Kibbutz HaMa'apil in Emek Hefer to learn spawning techniques. Graduates of the training program established carp farms.[116]


Abel Muzorewa, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, visited Israel on 21 October 1983. He urged Robert Mugabe to establish diplomatic relations, saying his political policies hurt Zimbabwe's agriculture and technology industries. In March 2002 an Israeli company sold riot control vehicles to the Mugabe government, shortly before the nation's 2002 elections.[117]


In addition to Turkey, Israel has diplomatic relations with 6 non-Arab Muslim states in Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).


Afghanistan, currently, has no relations with Israel. The Monarchy of Afghanistan did have spiritual relations with Israel, whether in secret or Tribal rules in place. The Afghan Royal Family trace their origins to King Saul of Israel. Afghanistan was the Only Muslim country that did not revoke citizenship when Jews, also known as descendants of Judah, migrated to Israel. Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail has published numerous books linking the Afghans to the Lost Tribes of Israel.


Both the Israeli government and general public supported the Bangladesh Liberation War. After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 the new born country was recognised by Israel in as early as 1972 before any Arab country although Bangladesh "categorically rejected" the recognition.[118]

Bangladesh does not recognize Israel as legitimate and officially forbids its citizens to travel to Israel by putting 'Valid for travel to all countries except Israel' on Bangladeshi passports. Bangladesh supports a sovereign Palestinian state and an end to Israel's "illegal occupation of Palestine".[119]


Main article: Israel-Myanmar relations

U Nu and Moshe Dayan in 1955.

Burma (otherwise known as Myanmar) was one of the first countries to recognize Israel and establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Burma has also become one of Israel's strongest allies in the region, in terms of both technical assistance and also the much debated and rumored military links. Premiers from both sides such as U Nu and David Ben-Gurion made state visits to each other's countries in the 1950s.[120][121] Burma sends agriculture researchers to Israel for training. This was further cemented in Israel's aid assistance during the Cyclone Nargis disaster of May 2008.


Main article : Israel-Cambodia relations

Israel established diplomatic ties with Cambodia in 1960. Ties were cut in 1975 due to the rise of the Khmer rouge. The ties were restored in 1993. Israel has no embassy in Cambodia and Cambodia has no embassy in Israel. Instead, the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, is accredited to Cambodia. Cambodian students study agriculture in Israel.


On 9 January 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 United States-China Economic and 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.[122][123]

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.[124] In 2007, China launched a countrywide Festival of Culture in Israel to mark 15 years of relations.[125]

Hong Kong

Main article: Israel-Hong Kong relations

Israel and Hong Kong have full diplomatic ties as part of Israel's diplomatic ties with China. Israel has a consulate in the city, while Hong Kong is represented in Israel by the Chinese embassy in Tel Aviv.


Indian and Israeli flags in New Delhi during Ariel Sharon's visit, September 2003.

India established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in 1992 and has since become Israel's strongest ally in Asia.[126][127] 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.[128] Co-operation has taken place in the space sector as well with India launching Israeli satellites. India became the top source market for Israel from Asia in 2010 with 41,000 tourist arrivals in that year.[129]

Israel and India share intelligence on terrorist groups. They have developed close defense and security ties since establishing diplomatic relations in 1991. In 2009, Israel overtook Russia as India's biggest arms supplier; the U.S. even gave Israel approval to sell the Phalcon to India after earlier forcing Jerusalem to cancel a similar deal with China. India has bought more than $5 billion worth of Israeli equipment since 2002. In addition, Israel is training Indian military units and discussing an arrangement to give Indian commandos instruction in counter-terrorist tactics and urban warfare.[130] In December 2008, Israel and India signed a memorandum to set up an Indo-Israel Legal Colloquium to facilitate discussions and exchange programs between judges and jurists of the two countries. According to an international opinion survey conducted in 2009 on behalf of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, India is the most pro-Israel country in the world.[131][132]


Indonesia purchased over 30 Douglas A-4 Skyhawks from Israel in the early 1980s, despite no recognition or diplomatic relations.[133]

In 2012, Indonesia agreed to informally upgrade its relations with Israel and to open a consulate in Ramallah, headed by a diplomat with the rank of ambassador, who will also unofficially serve as his country's ambassador for contacts with Israel. The move, which was agreed upon after five years of sensitive deliberations, represents a de facto upgrading of relations between Israel and the world's most populous Muslim country. Indonesia has formally presented the move to open a West Bank consulate as a demonstration of its support for Palestinian independence. In fact, while the ambassador-ranked diplomat will be accredited to the Palestinian Authority/PLO, a significant portion of his work will be in dealings with Israel, and the office will fulfill substantial diplomatic duties as well as consular responsibilities. Israel and Indonesia quietly maintain trade, security and other relations. Israelis can get visas for Bali in Singapore, while many Indonesians come to Israel as pilgrims. [134]


On 15 May 1952, diplomatic relations were established with 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, no break occurred, despite the Arab oil embargo on several countries, including Japan.


Both countries established diplomatic relations on 10 April 1992. The embassy of Israel in Kazakhstan opened in August 1992. The embassy of Kazakhstan in Israel opened in May 1996. Israel has an embassy in Astana and Kazakhstan maintains an embassy in Tel Aviv.


Israel and Malaysia do not maintain diplomatic relations and Malaysian passports do not allow entry into Israel. However, Malaysia and Israel has been engaged in trade relations, in 2011 Israel had exported goods to Malaysia worth $716.4 million and import goods worth $93.6 million.[135] A report compiled by the European Commission indicated that in 2010 Malaysia ranked 15th among Israel's major trade partners, accounting for 0.8% (€667.6 million) of Israel's trade in that year.[136]


Relations between Israel and Maldives were not very strong until the new government of the Maldives came into power in 2008. From 1978 to 2008 there were no official relations between Israel and the Maldives. The president of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed announced that he would like to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. In September 2009, Maldives restored diplomatic relations with Israel, 15 years after suspending them.[137]

On 21 July 2014, Maldives announced plans to ban the import of goods made in Israel and dissolved three agreements between the two countries, as Israel underwent a military operation in Gaza. A large Palestinian death toll led Maldives Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon to announce that the Maldives would join other Arab nations in co-sponsoring a resolution at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) calling for the protection of an independent Palestinian state and the extension of humanitarian aid.[138] Foreign minister Dunya Maumoon then said that the three agreements made between the Maldives and Israel by former President Mohamed Nasheed's government have been abolished.,[139] indicating "I do not think Maldivians want any help from Israel or want to keep up relations with Israel. So from now on, the agreements have been annulled".[138]


In October 1991 the official relationship of Mongolia and Israel. Ariel Sharon visited in Mongolia in 2001, when he was minister in the Likud government. Israelis wishing to enter Mongolia are exempt from arming a visa in advance. The Mongolian immigration authorities tend to provide visitors to the country a 30 days visa on their arrival. You can extend the visa fee and the extension is at the discretion of the authorities.

Visited Mongolia in August 2010, formally of the National University of Mongolia, academic delegation from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During the visit, an agreement was signed for cooperation between universities. In 2012, the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon visited and signed an agreement with the Mongolian Minister of Education which included collaboration between universities and institutions of higher education, which will study in Mongolia about Israel and the Holocaust and Israel will learn about the heritage and History of Mongolia. It was also agreed on expanding ties between the two countries and embassies.


Abba Eban and the King of Nepal at Weizmann Institute, 1958

Israel-Nepal relations, first established in 1960, are based on mutual security concerns.[140] 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. Until the 1990s Nepal was the only South Asian country to have diplomatic ties with Israel.[141]

Nepal is one of the few Asian countries to have consistently supported Israel at international forums and at the UN. Nepal has maintained diplomatic relations and continues to support the right of Israel to exist within secure and internationally recognized boundaries. Nepal voted in favour of Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which upheld the right of all the states in the region to live in peace. Nepal has also welcomed every initiative from whatever quarter that seeks to resolve the Middle East problems like the Camp David Accord signed between Egypt and Israel in 1978 and the renewed peace process sponsored time to time by countries like the USA.

After the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Israel was one of the first to send aid to Nepal. Israel sent a delegation of 264 people for Search & Rescue missions, and over 95 tons of equipment, including a field hospital. It is estimated that about 12,000 Nepalese foreign workers are residing in Israel, most of whom are women working as caregivers.

North Korea

North Korea does not recognise the state of Israel, denouncing it as an "imperialist satellite".[33] Since 1988 it recognises the sovereignty of the State of Palestine over the territory held by Israel.


A Pakistani passport not valid for travel to Israel.

Israel and Pakistan do not have diplomatic relations with each other, and Pakistan passports say 'This passport is valid for all countries of the World except Israel', although the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, is in Israel. Israeli authorities told a traveller that Pakistanis could apply for a visa, and that they would issue a paper visa and put the entry and exit stamps on it.[142] Some Israeli leaders have expressed the belief that should diplomatic relations with Pakistan be established, then Pakistan could serve as a bridge between Israel and the Muslim world.[143] In 2008, the Israeli Foreign minister stated that "Israel considers Pakistan as its biggest strategic threat" in light of concern over the increasing Taliban threat in Pakistan.[144]

In the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks in India, there was an attack on the Nariman House Jewish community centre. Six people (among them four Israeli citizens), including a Jewish rabbi and his pregnant wife, were killed (some of them were also tortured before being killed). The Islamic terrorists had illegally come from Pakistan, reportedly on the instructions of Pakistan Army's Inter Services Intelligence.[145]


On 29 November 1947, the Philippines (a U.S. territory until 1946) was the only Asian nation to support the partition resolution at the United Nations General Assembly recommending a Jewish State in Palestine.[146] Israel and the Philippines established full diplomatic relationships in 1957. Embassies were opened 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 dialog is accompanied by cooperation in trade and economy, culture, technical assistance, science, academic exchanges, tourism etc. There are between 37,155–50,000 Filipino workers in Israel as of 2004.[147][148]


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 an uneasy relationship. Following Singapore's sudden and unexpected independence after being unilaterally ejected from Malaysia, Singapore appealed to the international community for technical assistance and military aid. Israel sent over a mission to jumpstart Singapore's economy and 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 defense. 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 do not recognise Israel as a state which makes attaining flight rights impossible. 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.[149]

South Korea

The Republic of Korea and the State of Israel established diplomatic relations on 10 April 1962.[150][151] Israel opened its embassy in Seoul in April 1968, which was closed by the Israeli government in 1978. The embassy was reopened in January 1992, with Korea opening its resident embassy in Tel Aviv in December 1993.[150]

On 23 August 2010 Korea Venture Investment Corp. (KVIC), a state-backed fund management company, signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel's Vertex Venture Capital (VVC) to raise a US$150 million fund, which will be used to finance joint ventures or the merger and acquisition of small and mid-size venture firms in the two countries.[152]

Sri Lanka

Main article: Israel-Sri Lanka relations

In May 2011, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture visited Sri Lanka with an agro-business delegation to promote cooperation between the two countries.[153]


Thailand and Israel have had full diplomatic relations since 23 June 1954. The Israeli embassy was opened in 1958 although the Thai embassy in Tel Aviv only opened in 1996. Since the beginning, both countries have enjoyed strong ties and beneficial bilateral cooperation in many 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. 100,000 Israeli tourists visit Thailand annually.[154] Thousands of skilled and unskilled Thai workers are employed in Israel and many Thai students 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.[155]


In 2013, the Israel Foreign Ministry opened a new embassy in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.[156][157]


Vietnam and Israel established diplomatic relations on 12 July 1993. Israel opened its resident Embassy in Hanoi in December 1993.[158] The first Vietnamese ambassador to Israel presented his credentials on 8 July 2009.[159] Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have frequently conducted reciprocal visits at various levels, and have strengthened ties in such fields as business, education, culture, technological cooperation and agriculture. The visits arranged by the Israeli government included those of delegations comprising entrepreneurs and businessmen, academic groups, journalists, artists and musicians, legal workers, and so on.[160]



Israel and Albania established diplomatic relations on 20 August 1991. Albania had previously recognized Israel as a state since 1949.[161] Albania has an embassy in Tel-Aviv and Israel also has an embassy in Tirana.


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, Ehud 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.[162]


Austria recognized Israel on 5 March 1949. Austria has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 3 honorary consulates (in Eilat, Haifa and Jerusalem).[163] Israel has an embassy in Vienna.[164] Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean. The Austrian Foreign Ministry lists the bilateral treaties with Israel (in German only).[165]


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 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 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.[166]


Israel established relations with Belarus in 1992 and continue to maintain friendly relations. In April 2000, Belarus and Israel signed an agreement on trade, science, culture, and education. The two countries also formed a joint committee to improve relations between the two nations. Belarus has an embassy in Tel Aviv and Israel has an embassy in Minsk.[167][168] The two countries have also discussed implementing a visa-free regime between the two countries. Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei continues to satisfied with the relations between the two countries and also expressed hope for new opportunities to facilitate further all-round cooperation with Israel in conjunction with fostering progressive development with the Jewish state. Both nations celebrated its 20th anniversary in December 2012. Bilateral cooperation has since then encapsulated tourism, culture, trade, economy, science, education and other fields.[169] In 2013, Belarusian Vice Premier Mikhail Rusyi met top Israeli officials from the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry, the State Committee for Science and Technology, Belarusbank and the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee to further facilitate economic cooperation as well as development of innovative technologies into the Belarusian agricultural sector.[170][171][172]



Israel and Bulgaria share a special relationship. Bulgaria was one of the only countries in Europe which saved its 48,000 Jews during WWII.[173] Israel and Bulgaria established diplomatic relations in 1948. After the Six-Day War Bulgaria cut diplomatic ties with Israel. In 1990 diplomatic relations were renewed. Bulgaria has an embassy in Tel Aviv and Israel has an embassy in Sofia and honorary consul in Varna.[174]

The cooperation has been consolidated by unexpected actions of goodwill from both nations. In the summer 2010 Bulgaria dispatched 90 firefighters to Israel to join the efforts to put out a massive wild-fire that raged outside of Haifa. In the summer of 2012, Israel sent two 'Air Tractor' planes to Bulgaria to help that nation fight a wild-fire in the Vitosha Mountains near Sofia further signifying notions of repayment and as well as the strengthening of relations between the two countries. On July 7, 2011, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a declaration pledging closer cooperation between the two countries and the governments between the two countries would result in a wide range of areas that include foreign affairs, national security and emergency preparedness, tourism, energy, and agriculture. Israel also took note of Bulgaria's prompt on international cooperation between the two countries to preserve memory, learning, and research on the Holocaust, combating xenophobia and antisemitism.[175]

In January 2012, Israel and Bulgaria signed two additional memorandum of understanding, which the purpose where one was for joint military training exercises and one for cooperation in the defence sector. The two agreements were signed by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov. Minister Angelov said the two agreements, in addition to their economic and defense benefits, also "bring a political message – Bulgaria and Israel are a step closer towards stronger cooperation and a strategic dialogue." After the 2012 Burga bus bombing, Bulgaria and Israel pledged to increase security relations between the two countries discussing various aspects of bilateral cooperation at a meeting at the Ministry of Interior between Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Tsvetlin Iochev and Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister, Avigdor Leiberman in November 2013. An international investigation led by Bulgaria has established was the work of people linked with the bombing to the military wing of Hezbollah where five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian citizen died.[176][177]

The governments of both countries also intend to cooperate in the high-tech sector, the communications sector, health care and agriculture and to continue the positive development of tourism between the two countries and energy resource divestment. Israel also intends to join with Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Romania to launch a regional group for crisis response which will boost the partnership between these countries in cases of common security challenges as result of a March 2014 meeting between Lieberman and Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev.[178]


Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, July 2015

While Croatia was part of the Yugoslavia Federation (1943–1991) it established diplomatic relations with Israel in year 1948 through the Federation, but after Israel attacked Yugoslavia's Non-Aligned Movement ally Egypt in the Six-Day War in 1967, Yugoslavia severed all diplomatic relations with Israel. After the breakup of Yugoslavia occurred as a result of a series of political upheavals and conflicts Croatia declared independence on October 8, 1991 and officially renewed its bilateral relations with Israel which recognized Croatia as an independent state on April 16, 1992, but due to some disagreements with the Croatian President Tuđman full diplomatic relations were established 5 years later, on September 4, 1997. Since then relations between Croatia and Israel have been excellent. Croatia has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 4 honorary consulates (in Ashdod, Caesarea, Jerusalem and Kfar Shmaryahu). Israel has an embassy in Zagreb. In addition, Croatia does not recognize the State of Palestine.


Chief Rabbi of Cyprus, Arie Zeev Raskin meets the Cypriot President, Demetris Christofias.

Israel has had diplomatic relations with Cyprus since Israel's 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 into Lebanon.[179]

However, the discovery of natural gas in the Leviathan gas field led to a thawing of relations between the two governments. The two countries demarcated their Exclusive Economic Zones in 2010. Israel's rising antagonism with Turkey further increased the level of cooperation between the two countries, as Israel compensated by improving its relations elsewhere. In February 2012, Netanyahu visited Cyprus, the first visit of an Israeli Prime Minister in history.[180] The collaboration between Cyprus,Israel and Greece on natural gas extraction has been characterised by the media as the Energy Triangle.

Cyprus serves an important role as the place where most Israeli couples obtain civil marriages, because Cyprus is the closest country on good diplomatic terms with Israel that issues civil marriages. Israel does not issue civil marriages, only religious ones, with religious restrictions on the eligibility of marriage, and a recent law allows civil marriages in Israel under one condition: both individuals are non-Jewish residents of the state. Israel does however recognize civil marriages issued abroad, with Cyprus being the largest source of easy civil marriage licenses.

Relations between Israel and Cyprus are based on mutual respect for Western values, the support for free-market economy and the establishment of democracies in the Middle East that would co-exist peacefully.[181]

Czech Republic

Israel and the Czech Republic share a special relationship. Czechoslovakia was the only country to send aid to Israel in its early years e.g. arms shipments from Czechoslovakia to Israel 1947–1949.

In December 2008, the Czech Air Force wanted to train in desert conditions for the upcoming mission in Afghanistan. No country agreed to help, except Israel. Israel saw it as an opportunity to thank the Czechs for training Israeli pilots when the country was first established.[182]


The relations between Denmark and Israel have been friendly and warm. Denmark voted for the partition of Palestine in 1947 and supports Israel in the United Nations. Denmark was one of few countries in Europe to save most of its Jewish population during the WWII. In Jerusalem, there is a monument to the rescue of Danish Jews, a school is named in Denmark's honor, and the King Christian X hospital in Eitanim is named after Denmark's king during World War II. Denmark has an embassy in Israel, and Israel has an embassy in Copenhagen.

The political lives of the two states have been somewhat intertwined: The former Israeli minister of social and diaspora affairs Michael Melchior was born in Denmark and is the son of former chief rabbi in Copenhagen, Bent Melchior, the nephew of former Danish minister of traffic and minister of tourism and communication Arne Melchior, and the grandson of the acting rabbi for the Jewish refugees from Denmark in Sweden 1943–45, Marcus Melchior; the executive director of the Peres Center for Peace 2001–2011, Ron Pundak who played an important role in starting the Oslo peace process and was part of the core group behind the Geneva Initiative, is the son of the influential Danish journalist Herbert Pundik; and the prominent Israeli politician Yohanan Plesner, former chairman of the Plesner Committee, is the son of Danish architect Ulrik Plesner.


Estonia and Israel maintain excellent relations. Israel officially recognized the Republic of Estonia on 4 September 1991 and diplomatic relations were established on 9 January 1992. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet opened the Estonian Embassy in Tel Aviv in November 2009. As of 2012, bilateral trade with Israel was 19.9 million euros.[183]


In 2004, a joint Finland-Israel Technology (FIT) cooperation program was created for research and development projects in the field of ICT. The Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Research and Innovation, allocated five million euros each for the funding of projects.[184] In 2005, Finnish exports to Israel totaled 155,24 million euros and imports from Israel to Finland totaled 95,96 million euros. Finland's leading exports to Israel are telecommunications equipment and machinery, and Israeli fruits and vegetables.[184]


Tzipi Livni and French foreign minister Douste-Blazy

In the early 1950s, France and Israel maintained close political and military ties as common enemies of Pan-Arab nationalism. France was Israel's main weapons supplier until its withdrawal from Algeria in 1962 removed most common interest from the relationship, and France became increasingly critical of Israel.[185] This new reality became clear when, in the crisis leading up to the Six-Day War in June 1967, Charles de Gaulle's government imposed an arms embargo on the region, mostly affecting Israel, which had relied on France for weapons over the previous decade.[186] Under François Mitterrand in the early 1980s, French-Israeli relations improved greatly. Mitterrand was the first French president to visit Israel while in office.[187] In 1967, after the Six Day War, 5,300 French Jews immigrated to Israel.[188]


Relations between Israel and Georgia remain excellent.[189] Georgia's former defense minister from 2006 to 2008, Davit Kezerashvili, had previously lived in Israel. Israel has been selling weapons to Georgia for seven years financed by grants from the USA[189] Included in these weapons are Israeli-built spy drones provided through the former mayor of Tel Aviv, Roni Milo. Israeli advisors, estimated to number between 100 and 1,000, have trained the Georgian military for some time.[189] The two nations also maintain a visa free policy where Georgian and Israeli officials signed an agreement to lift visa requirements for Georgian citizens traveling to Israel, reciprocating Georgia's visa-free policy for Israelis in place since mid-2005.[190][191]

Georgia has its Embassy in Tel Aviv, and the State of Israel has its Embassy in Tbilisi. In June 2013, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili praised the Jewish people and Israel and has sought to increase relations between Israel and Georgia elucidating his special relationship between him, Georgia and the Jewish people. Ivanishvili also wanted to extend strategic partnerships and as well as furthering economic cooperation by making it easier for Israeli entrepreneurs and investors to not just do business in Israel, but also facilitate the right paths to do business for the Georgians. The Israel-Georgia Chamber of Business was established in 1996 in order to facilitate business transactions between the two friendly countries and acting as a guide for Israeli businesses through the Georgian economy. Major sectors include insurance, real estate and construction, medical and dental solutions, industrial and utility projects, and energy.[192][193][194]


Due to its role in the Holocaust, Israel was at first extremely hostile towards Germany and initially refused to establish relations with them. However, relations gradually thawed as Germany offered to pay reparations in 1952, and diplomatic relations were officially established in 1965. Israel and Germany now maintain a "special relationship" based on shared beliefs, Western values and a combination of historical perspectives.[195] Among the most important factors in their relations is Nazi Germany's role in the genocide of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.[196]

Germany is 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 armor to West Germany to be analyzed. The results aided the German development of an anti-tank system.[197]


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. Greek-Israeli relations improved in 1995. Trade 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 the second largest importer of Greek products in the Middle East.

The Israeli and Greek Navies joined forces in 2012 near Piraeus
Meeting of President of Israel Shimon Peres and Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras in August 2012 in Athens

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.[198]

Hellenic Air Force Bombardier 415s fighting flames at Ein Hod on December 4, 2010

Greece-Israel relations improved as Turkish-Israel relations worsened in the aftermath of the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid. In October 2010, the Israeli and Greek air-forces trained jointly in Greece. According to the BBC, this signified a boost in ties that was due in large part to Israel's rift with Turkey.[199] In November 2011, the Israeli Air Force hosted Greece's Hellenic Air Force in a joint exercise at the Uvda base.[200]

The joint Cyprus-Israel oil and gas explorations are also an important factor for Greece, given its strong links with Cyprus.[201] Additionally Greek and Israeli state controlled energy companies are planning to lay the world's longest subsea power cable, linking Israel, Cyprus and Greece by 2015. The link, called the EuroAsia Interconnector project, would be the longest in the world.[202]

A new joint action committee for the Greek-Israeli alliance has been created in the U.S. Congress in early 2013. The creation and goals of the Greek-Israeli Caucus under the name Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance were announced at a special event held in the Congress.[203] It is co-chaired by Congress members Gus Bilirakis the Republican representative from Florida and Ted Deutch the Democrat from Florida, and the Greek-Israeli Caucus consists of powerful members of both Republican and Democratic party. It is estimated that it may become the most important pressure group in Congress by 2014.[204][205][206]

Holy See

Before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Vatican opposed Zionist policies and objectives in Palestine. In 1947, during discussions at the United Nations about the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, the Vatican supported the internationalization of Jerusalem, in order to keep the holy places away from either Israeli or Arab sovereignty. In October 1948, as the 1948 Arab–Israeli War was in progress, Pope Pius XII, deeply disturbed by that violent conflict, issued the encyclical In multiplicibus curis, in which he called on the peace-makers to give Jerusalem and its outskirts "an international character" and to assure – "with international guarantees" – freedom of access and worship at the holy places scattered throughout Palestine. In April 1949, he issued the encyclical Redemptoris nostri cruciatus, in which he appealed for justice for the Palestinian refugees and repeated his call for an "international status" as the best form of protection for the holy places.

In January 1964, Pope Paul VI visited Israel, the first such Papal visit.

Following the Six Day War, the Vatican modified its position on the holy places. In an address to the College of Cardinals in December 1967, Pope Paul VI called for a "special statute, internationally guaranteed" for Jerusalem and the Holy Places, thus changing the previous demand for the internationalization of Jerusalem.

Diplomatic relations between the Israeli government and the Vatican were established in 1994, following the conclusion of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel, signed on 30 December 1993. The Holy See (the Vatican), which has UN observer status, is the only non-UN member state with which Israel has diplomatic relations and the only non-UN member state recognised by Israel. An important organ in these relations is the Israel-Vatican Bilateral Commission, established under article 10 of the Agreement to resolve economic issues between the parties.

In 2000, Pope John Paul II visited Israel, followed by visits of Pope Benedict XVI (2009) and Pope Francis (2014). The bilateral commission convened on 30 April 2009 and 10 December 2009.[207]


Hungary and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1948 and severed during the Six-Day War in 1967. Relations were restored in 1989 with improved relations as well as the opening of embassies and consulates with Hungary having an embassy in Tel Aviv and 4 honorary consulates (in Eilat, Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv)[208] and Israel has an embassy in Budapest and an honorary consulate in Szeged.[209] Both countries have stressed the increasing of trade and tourism between one another and an estimated 30,000 Hungarian Jews emigrated to Israel in 1948.[210][211][212] Both nations are also members of the Union for the Mediterranean.


Full diplomatic relations between Ireland and Israel were established in 1975.[213] As of 2016 the Israeli ambassador to Ireland is Zeev Boker and the Irish ambassador to Israel is Alison Kelly.

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.[214] During the conflict, a shipment of bombs that attempted to land in 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.[215]

In 2010, the Israel Defense Forces forcibly boarded an Irish aid ship destined for the Gaza Strip which resulted in worsened relations, Israel's Mossad was also involved in the counterfeiting of Irish passports, 2 members of the Israeli ambassador's security staff in Dublin were subsequently deported. In 2010, there were numerous protests at the Israeli embassy in Ireland over the treatment of Palestinians.


The Israeli and Italian Air Forces conclude an extensive, two-week joint exercise in Sardinia, 17 November 2010.

Relations between Italy and Israel remain strong, with frequent diplomatic exchanges and a large volume of trade. The Israeli Government has followed with great attention the fight against international terrorism pursued by the Italian Government.


Latvia and Israel established diplomatic relations January 6, 1992. In October 2012, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called on Israeli officials for the development of economic and trade contacts between both countries and support for Latvia's accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Rinkevics also met with Israeli President Shimon Peres on behalf of President Berzins to visit Latvia. Rinkevics and Peres agreed on the key significance of education and knowledge-based economies for the development of small countries further paving opportunities for our future cooperation between the two nations.[216]

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also corroborated claims that Israel is interested in forging closer relations with Latvia as Rinkevics emphasized the 20th anniversary of relations between Latvia and Israel in 2012 and both foreign ministers expressed their commitment to strengthening economic and trade cooperation, including contacts between Latvian and Israeli entrepreneurs and a more cooperative operation in the fields of education, culture and science.[216]


Israel recognized Lithuania’s independence in 1991. Both countries established diplomatic relation in 1992. Israel has an embassy in Vilnius. Lithuania has an embassy in Tel Aviv and two honorary consulates (in Herzliya and Ramat Gan). Relations are warm and friendly between the two nations and both bi-national trade and tourism has doubled, and two new regularly scheduled flights have just been set between the two countries since 2010.[217]

Lithuanian achievements, particularly Lithuania's achievements in biochemistry and the biosciences have attracted Israeli entrepreneurs and investors to invest in Lithuania's science and technology sector and Lithuania is enthusiastic in combining Israel's knack for unlocked untapped entrepreneurial and intellectual potential combined with Lithuania's strong science and technology research base and talented workforce. Both nations have concluded an agreement on cooperation in industrial research and experimental development as further cooperation within venture capital to fund joint research projects remains underway.[218][219]

Bilateral meetings between both nations reached unexpected highs between 2009–2011 and cooperations between the two nations remain excellent with several forms of cooperation that include science, economics, education, and culture as emphasized by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has stated Israel as model of innovation in which is one of the reasons that Lithuania is interested in enhancing its bilateral relations.[220][221][222][223]

In 2011 alone, Israeli tourism to Lithuania grew by 62 percent, and Lithuanian exports to Israel increased by 54 percent. Israel’s leading pharmaceutical company, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, has a manufacturing plant in Lithuania and TEVA recently invested in "Sicor Biotech", a Lithuanian biotechnological pharmaceutical company, further signifying economic cooperation and encourages the development of such sciences as biotechnology and genetic engineering in Lithuanian universities.[224]

Israeli companies have taken a very active interest in possibilities for carrying out clinical research in Lithuania; many of them are already in cooperation with Lithuanian medical institutions and have invested in Lithuania's burgeoning life sciences sector. In 2013, Lithuanian biotechnology company ProBioSanus signed a representation agreement with Bharat Israel where ProBioSanus’ natural, probiotic-based cleaning and personal care products will be available for sale in Israel for the first time. The company already opened stores in Lithuania and Scandinavia. Mr Andrejauskas, head of ProBioSanus spoke of this agreement saying that "We have a strong scientific base and intellectual potential In Lithuania, so we are allocating particular attention to the creation of new formulas and products."[225] Besides Israeli investments in the Lithuanian life science's sector, Lithuanian presence in Israel in the food industry remains strong as Israeli supermarkets sell Lithuanian cheese, curd desserts, Vilnius mayonnaise, Žemaitijos Pienas butter, Panevėžys ice cream, Švyturys-Utenos Alus beers and various styles of Lithuanian liquors. According to Vadimas Ivanovas, a business and financial analyst at Enterprise Lithuania, says that Israeli retail chains are very interested in Lithuanian sweets, pastries, canned vegetables, various sauces, alcoholic beverages, mineral water. "Veal is particularly popular."[219]


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.[226]



Relations between Moldova and Israel were established on June 6, 1992. Israel recognized Moldova on December 25, 1991. Israel is represented in Moldova through its embassy in Chisinau and Moldova has an embassy in Tel Aviv and an honorary consulate in Haifa. Relations between the two countries are friendly and a warm one based on mutual support. A myriad of efforts are primarily focused on the realization of achieved accords on cooperation in the fields of economy, medicine, industry, agriculture, social and cultural issues. Though the volume of trade between Israel and Moldova is low, Larisa Miculet, the Ambassador of Moldova to Israel has stated that there numerous untapped potential of increasing bilateral trade. For Israeli entrepreneurs and investors, Moldova is geopolitically convenient because of its location in the center of Europe, it's high transparency between public authorities and foreign investors and due to its having eliminated most of the bureaucratic barriers that hinder business activities. Various business sectors of cooperation between Israel and Moldova range from pharmaceuticals, energy, information technology and software, electronics and electronic equipment, power engineering, metal and plastics processing and construction materials but Moldova has stressed foreign Israeli investments in all segments of the Moldovan economy.[227][228][229]


In 1947, the Netherlands voted in favor of the establishing Israel and established diplomatic relation in 1949. Israel has an embassy in The Hague and The Netherlands has an embassy in Tel Aviv.


Norway was one of the first countries to recognize Israel on 4 February 1949. Both countries established diplomatic relations later that year. Israel has an embassy which serves Norway and Iceland in Oslo. Norway has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 2 honorary consulates (in Eilat and Haifa). Israels Venner på Stortinget (Friends of Israel in the Parliament of Norway) is a pro-Israel caucus group consisting of members of the Parliament of Norway (Stortinget).


Following the severing of relations after the Six-Day War, Poland was the first Eastern bloc country to again recognize Israel in 1986. Full diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1990, after the communist People's Republic of Poland became modern, democratic Poland.


Since 1959 Israel and Portugal were represented by Consulates General only. Full diplomatic relations with the Portuguese government were established on May 12, 1977, following the Portuguese revolution of 1974.[230]


Romania and Israel established full diplomatic relations on June 11, 1948. Israel has an embassy in Bucharest.[231] Romania has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 3 honorary consulates (in Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv).[232] The two countries have signed many bilateral treaties and agreements and both of them are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean and many other international organizations.

Russia and the Soviet Union

Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2000.

The Soviet Union voted in favor of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947, which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel. On 17 May 1948, on the third day of Israel's independence, the Soviet Union granted de jure recognition to the State of Israel, becoming only the second country to recognise Israel (preceded only by the United States' de facto recognition) and the first country to grant Israel de jure recognition.[233]

The Soviet Union and the other communist states of Eastern Europe (with the exception of Romania) cut diplomatic ties with Israel during the Six-Day War. Relations were restored in 1991 after the dissolution 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.[234]

In September 2010, Israel and Russia signed a comprehensive military agreement that will "increase cooperation on combating terrorism" and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and signed the agreement during a ceremony in Moscow. The Russian military plans on purchasing additional Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles. Russia previously bought 12 drones from the Israel Aerospace Industries following the war in South Ossetia.[235]


Diplomatic relations between Israel and Serbia's predecessor state, Yugoslavia, were severed for twenty-four years, from 1967 until 1991, when they were officially renewed, by which time Yugoslavia was in the process of disintegration. Diplomatic relations continued when, in April 1992, the two remaining Yugoslav republics, Serbia and Montenegro, formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (renamed to Serbia and Montenegro in February 2003). On 3 June 2006, Montenegro and Serbia dissolved the union.



On 17 February 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, a move Serbia rejects. Kosovo has been recognized by a substantial number of UN members, including the United States and most members of the European Union, but not by Israel.[236] At the time of the declaration, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official stated: "We haven't decided when we're going to decide, and instead will monitor events and consider the issue". Israel is reluctant to recognize Kosovo's independence, in part because of the possibility of Palestinians using recognition of Kosovo to justify their own unilateral declaration of independence.[237]


Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1993. Israel has an embassy in Bratislava.[238] Slovakia has an embassy in Tel Aviv.[239] In May 2008, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico called Ehud Olmert and Shimon Peres for the strengthening of diplomatic relations between Israel and Slovakia. An Israel – Slovakia Chamber of Commerce and Industry also exists to facilitate further economic and business cooperation between the two countries.[240][241]


Israel and Slovenia established full diplomatic relations when Israel officially recognized Slovenia on 16 April 1992 and on 28 April 1992 when the countries signed the Protocol establishing diplomatic relations between each other. The Slovenian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce was established in 2010 signifying a strengthening of ties and both countries have discussed bilateral cooperation in business, tourism, science and technology, and agriculture.[242][243]

Slovenian Jews in Israel

A sizable Slovenian Jewish community was presently in the Gush Dan area.


Israel and Spain have maintained diplomatic ties since 1986. 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.[244] The Spanish foreign minister visited Israel for an official visit in May 2008.[245]


Sweden voted in favor of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947. Relations between Sweden and Israel were good during the 1950s and 1960s, and Sweden expressed strong support for Israel during the Six-Day War.[246] However, from 1969, Sweden became more critical of Israel.[247][248] In October 2014 Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine as the first European Union and Western country.[249]


The Chief of the Swiss Armed Forces, André Blattmann, visiting Israel as a guest of IDF Chief of General Staff, Benny Gantz, 27 November 2011.

The First Zionist Congress was held in Basel in 1897, and 15 out of a total of 22 congresses were held in Switzerland. Before the establishment of the State of Israel, Switzerland maintained a consulate in Jerusalem and a consular agency in Tel Aviv. It recognized the new state in 1949 and opened a consulate in Tel Aviv, which was upgraded to an embassy in 1958. The Swiss community in Israel is the largest in the Asian region, totalling around 12,000 persons.[250]

After escalation of the Middle East conflict, Switzerland halted arms sales and military cooperation with Israel from 2002 to 2005. Since 2004, there has been regular political dialogue between Switzerland and Israel.[250]

Switzerland has represented Israel's interests in numerous countries (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 Côte d'Ivoire (1973–1986) in Israel. It also lobbied successfully for inclusion of Magen David Adom in the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.[250]

On 21 April 2009, Israel recalled its ambassador for consultations due to events that occurred at the UN anti-racism conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Israeli officials, angered by a meeting between Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz and the Iranian president, recalled its ambassador to Switzerland, Ilan Elgar "for consultations" amid ongoing controversy over an anti-racism conference being held in Geneva.[251][252]


Both countries established diplomatic relations on December 26, 1991. Israel has an embassy in Kiev. Ukraine has an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate-general in Haifa. In July 2010 the foreign ministers of two countries sign an agreement of non visa traffic between Israel and Ukraine. This came into effect on February 9, 2011 and since then Ukrainians and Israelis may enter territory, travel through it or stay on Ukraine/Israel without having to obtain visas for 90 days within a period of 180 days.

United Kingdom

Since its recognized independence in 1948, the United Kingdom and Israel have shared cordial and strongly strategic relations; the two nations share interests in the fields of political cooperation, immigration (seeing as many British Jews migrate to Israel) and economic trade. However, relations between the two countries began as hostile. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Britain detained 8,000 Jewish men of military age attempting to make aliyah to Israel in Cyprus, so they could not participate in the fighting. Britain supplied weapons to the Arab states, and almost went to war with Israel. When Israel captured the Negev, the British Ministry of Defence began to draw up plans for a possible invasion of Israel. British planes spied on Israeli positions, and war between the two countries became even more possible when four British planes were shot down by Israel. However, the two countries began to soften later on, and trade began. In 1956 Israel invaded Sinai Peninsula in agreement with France and the UK that invaded Suez. Nevertheless, Anglo-Israeli relations became turbulent in the summer of 2006 when Prime Minister Tony Blair, along with many other European leaders criticized IDF airstrikes against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, which had high civilian casualties. During the current Cameron premiership, relations between the two countries continue to remain close.

North America


Canada's relationship with Israel began in 1947, when Canada was represented on the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP). Canada was one of the 33 countries (including only four Commonwealth members) that voted in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution that lead to the creation of the State of Israel, thus beginning a longstanding relationship with the Jewish state based on a shared commitment to democratic values, understanding, and mutual respect.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica was one of the first countries to vote in favor of the establishment of the State of Israel. It maintained its embassy in Jerusalem until August 2006, when it finally relocated to Tel Aviv in order to bolster its ties with the Arab world.[253] In December 2011, Rodrigo Carreras became the Costa Rican ambassador to Israel for the second time, after his posting there in the 1980s. Carreras' father, Benjamin Nunez, also served as the Costa Rican ambassador to Israel.[254]


Cuban ambassador to Israel with Golda Meir, 1960

Cuba sent troops to fight against Israel during the War of Attrition. Cuba also joined the expeditionary forces during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and broke diplomatic relations with Israel the same year.

As Cuba's enemy and a very close United States ally, Israel was the only country in the world that consistently sided with the U.S. blockade against Cuba.

In late 2010, Fidel Castro, who no longer holds office in Cuba's government, stated that he believes Israel has a 'right to exist', which is a shift from his régime's earlier policy.[255] News reports in 2011 and 2012 indicated that Havana and Jerusalem discussed some initial diplomatic exchanges but Israel tabled that idea after Israeli representatives shared the information with the U.S. Congress.


Israeli rescue workers in Haiti

Haiti and Israel maintain full diplomatic relations. In 1947, Haiti voted for the UN Partition Plan and the creation of the State of Israel.[256] Israel was among the first to send both personnel and aid to Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010.[257]


Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in Jerusalem; 2016.

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. Mexico has also purchased weapons from Israel and is one of Israel's closest allies in the Americas.[258]


1974–1978: Israel sold arms to Somoza régime.[259][260]

On 1 June 2010 Nicaragua suspended diplomatic ties with Israel in response to the Gaza flotilla raid.[30]


Panama formally recognized the State of Israel on 18 June 1948. The two countries first exchanged in 1960.

Panama voted with Israel against UN resolution 67/19,[261] as well as Un resolution 70/70,[262] and in 2012 had a 30% voting coincidence with Israel.[263]

United States

Yitzhak Shamir with U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, 1982

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 and hosts the annual Salute to Israel Parade in New York City. From 1948 to 2012, the United States has provided Israel with $233.7 billion in aid (after adjusting for inflation). In addition, the US has provided Israel with $19 billion in loan guarantees.[264]

The United States is Israel's largest trading partner, accounting for 22.4 percent of Israel's $43.19 billion in imports, and 42.1 percent of Israel's $40.14 billion in exports annually (2005).[265] The U.S. also provides Israel with $2.4 billion in military assistance annually, which is equivalent to 24.5 percent of Israel's military expenditures. (2005).[265]



Australia was one of the four Commonwealth nations to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution. Australia and Israel established full diplomatic relations in January 1949.[266] Australia has an embassy in Tel Aviv and Israel likewise in Canberra. In May 2010, the Australian government expelled an Israeli diplomat over the misuse of Australian passports in the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, which Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said was "not the act of a friend."[267]

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands is one of the most consistent supporters of Israel international affairs, along with the United States, Micronesia and Palau. The Marshall Islands is a country in free association with the United States, and thus consistently vote in favor of the United States.


The Federated States of Micronesia is one of the most consistent supporters of Israel. Throughout the history of the United Nations General Assembly, there has always been an "automatic majority" against Israel. The United States has often voted in favour of Israel and in recent years,[268][269] one other nation has joined Israel's 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 assisted Micronesia in its early development. As one Micronesian diplomat said, "We need Israeli expertise, so I don't see a change in our policy anytime soon."[270]

In January 2010, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Emanuel Mori, and the President of the Republic of Nauru, Marcus Stephen, with their foreign ministers, visited Israel to expand ties on issues such as healthcare, solar energy, water conservation, clean technologies and other areas in which Israel can provide expertise. They met with Israeli leaders including the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman.[271]


Israel and the Republic of Nauru established official diplomatic relations in 2013, with collaboration on various subjects. Israel represents the non-resident ambassador to Nauru, Nauru whereas Israel represents a consul general and the Israeli media, David Ben-Bassat. Nauru, similar to other Pacific islands such as the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau, is a consistent supporter of Israel in international bodies, including the United Nations.

New Zealand

New Zealand was one of the four Commonwealth nations to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution. Since then, most New Zealand governments have been supportive of Israel. After 53 years of full diplomatic relations, the Israeli Embassy in Wellington closed in 2004 due to $5.4 million in cost-cuts by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. It was speculated that trade with Arab countries were a major factor. In June 2004, the New Zealand Government criticized Israel's policy of bulldozing Palestinian homes and donated $534,000 to aid homeless Palestinians. At one time there were four missions in the South Pacific area in Canberra, Sydney, Wellington and Suva in Fiji. Following the closure, only Canberra remained open, which was responsible for New Zealand-Israeli Relations. In 2009, the Israel Foreign Ministry announced the reopening of the embassy in Wellington.[156]

In mid-2004, 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 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.


Palau is one of the most consistent supporters of Israel in the United Nations and other international affairs along with the United States, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. In 2006, Palau had the highest voting coincidence with Israel in the United Nations.

Papua New Guinea


Israel maintains a non-resident embassy to Tuvalu in Jerusalem and Tuvalu has voted together with Israel against UN resolutions furthering Palestinian sovereignty on occasion.[272][273]

South America


In 1992, three Israeli diplomats were killed in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy which left 29 people dead and 240 wounded. Two years later, another bombing took place at the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and wounding 300. The investigation was never completed.[274] Néstor Kirchner called this a national disgrace, and reopened the files.


In January 2009, Bolivia limited its foreign relationship with Israel in the wake of strikes in Gaza by Israel. Bolivian President Evo Morales has reportedly promised to take Israel to an international court for alleged war crimes committed in Gaza.[275] Bolivia originally granted visa free access to Israeli citizens. However, as a result of Israel's 2014 military operation in Gaza, which it opposed, President Evo Morales declared Israel a "terrorist state" and his government will now require Israeli citizens to obtain a visa to visit Bolivia.[276]


Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim

Brazil played a large role in the establishment of the State of Israel. Brazil held the Presidency office of the UN General Assembly in 1947, which proclaimed the Partition Plan for Palestine. The Brazilian delegation to the U.N., supported and heavily lobbied for the partition of Palestine toward the creation of the State of Israel. Brazil was also one of the first countries to recognize the State of Israel, on 7 February 1949, less than one year after Israeli Declaration of Independence.

Nowadays, Brazil and Israel maintain close political, economic and military ties. Brazil is a full member state of Israel Allies Caucus,[277] a political advocacy organization that mobilizes pro-Israel parliamentarians in governments worldwide. The two nations enjoy a degree of arms cooperation as Brazil is a key buyer of Israeli weapons and military technology.[278] Also, Brazil is Israel's largest trading partner in Latin America.[279] Israel has an embassy in Brasília and a consulate-general in Sao Paulo and Brazil has an embassy in Tel Aviv and an honorary consulate in Haifa.[280] A longstanding dispute between Israel and Brazil is ongoing over Brazil's official rejection of a new Israeli ambassador because of his ties to the West Bank.

Brazil has the 9th largest Jewish community in the world, about 107,329 by 2010, according to the IBGE census.[281] The Jewish Confederation of Brazil (CONIB) estimates to more than 120,000.[282]


Chile recognized Israel's independence in February 1949. Israel sent its first ambassador to Chile in May 1950, and Chile sent its first ambassador Israel in June 1952. Prime Minister Golda Meir visited Chile during her term in office. In March 2005, the Chilean minister of foreign affairs Ignacio Walker made an official visit to Israel. Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East, approximately 500,000.[283][284]



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.[285]


Israel and Peru established diplomatic relations in 1957. In 1998 the two countries began talks on a free-trade agreement.[286] Israel sent rescue teams and medical aid to Peru after earthquakes in 1970, 2005 and 2007.[287][288] In 2001, Eliane Karp, a former Israeli, became the First Lady of Peru.[289]


Israel has an embassy in Montevideo. Uruguay has an embassy in Tel Aviv and 2 honorary consulates in Ashdod and Haifa. Uruguay was one of the first nations to recognise Israel as independent.


Relations were once strong, but the bilateral ties have soured under the Presidency of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.[290] The Jewish population in Venezuela, which peaked at 45,000,[291] is now below 15,000 "as a result of severe instability in the country", according to the Israeli Stephen Roth Institute.[292] The Miami Herald, Jewish Times, and Jewish organizations have reported large-scale emigration of Jewish people from Venezuela during the Chávez administration.[293][294] 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[295] Following the Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009, Venezuela cut its diplomatic ties with Israel. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez called the attack "genocidal", and urged that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert be tried for war crimes.

Israeli foreign aid

Israeli foreign aid ranks very low among OECD nations, spending less than 0.1% of its GNI on foreign aid. Individual international charitable donations are also very low, with only 0.1% of charitable donations being sent to foreign causes.[296]

Israel has provided humanitarian assistance to developing countries in Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania, and Central Europe through the activities of Mashav,[297] the Israeli Center for International Cooperation, created in 1958, with the goal to give developing countries the knowledge, tools, and expertise that Israel gained in its own development, and its ability to "make the desert flourish". This center trains course participants from approximately 140 countries on healthcare, as well as emergency and disaster medicine, and has participated in dozens of projects worldwide in fields economic fields such as agriculture, education, development, employment, and healthcare, as well as humanitarian fields such as disaster relief, reconstruction, and refugee absorption.[298]

In the 1970s, Israel broadened its aid agenda by granting safe haven to refugees and foreign nationals in distress from around the world. Since the 1980s, Israel has also provided humanitarian aid to places affected by natural disasters and terrorist attacks. In 1995, the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israel Defense Forces established a permanent humanitarian and emergency aid unit, which has carried out humanitarian operations worldwide.[299] As well as providing humanitarian supplies, Israel has also sent rescue teams and medical personnel and set up mobile field hospitals in disaster-stricken areas worldwide.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to International relations of Israel.

The Government Discusses Israel's Peace Plan, 18–19 June 1967:


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  32. non-Muslim country, enduring alliance with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
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