World Jewish News
Israel to open soon a permanent office at NATO headquarters
Israel is in the process of opening a permanent representation office at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a a meeting with the ambassadors of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member states in Jerusalem.
“We’re in the process of opening the office as soon as possible. We attach great importance to that,” he told them.
Earlier this year, in a significant upgrade of its ties with Israel, NATO recognised an official Israeli representative to the body for the first time.
Addressing the NATO ambassadors, Netanyahu emphasized common values and goals, especially in the fight against terror.
“Israel has much to contribute to NATO. I believe NATO has much to contribute to Israel. We’ve already begun that process, but I think we can extend and increase our cooperation,” he said.
In particular, he noted that “this meeting obviously comes at a difficult time,” given the terror attacks in Orlando and Tel Aviv during the last week. ‘’Brussels, London, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bali, Mumbai, New York, San Bernardino and now Orlando and so many other cities have been struck by the same evil. Terror knows no bounds, and that is why our cooperation in the battle against terrorism must know no bounds as well,’’ he said.
‘’One day ISIS kills gays, the next day Yazidis and then Jews and Muslims and Christians.’’
He added:“We stand ready to help NATO in this collective struggle. We are prepared to share our intelligence and our experience to help in this common effort.”
Danish Ambassador to Israel Jesper Vahr, NATO’s Contact Point in the country, reiterated,“There are so many threats that are facing NATO that are similar to the ones facing Israel.”
He read a statement from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, saying, “Israel is a very important partner for NATO,” emphasising that “Israel is an open democratic society” and along with NATO is facing “greater, more complex threats than for many years”. Stoltenberg added: “NATO and Israel are natural partners” and expressed hope for “an even closer relationship in the years ahead.”
Israel is not a member of NATO but enjoys military and security cooperation with the bloc. It is part of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a NATO outreach programme involving seven allied countries in the Mediterranean region.