Netanyahu said the cooperation today with countries in the Arab world is actually greater than it was when Jerusalem signed agreements with Egypt and Jordan
By Herb Keinon, JPOST
Israel is enjoying a greater level of cooperation today with the Arab world than it has ever had in its history, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast in the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
Netanyahu said the cooperation today with countries in the Arab world is actually greater than it was when Jerusalem signed agreements with Egypt and Jordan.
In practice, he said, there is cooperation in “different ways” and “at different levels,” though it is not public. And even though it is not public, “it is much larger than any other period in Israel’s history. It’s a huge change.”
Netanyahu, who also serves as the country’s foreign minister, advanced the annual toast because he will betraveling to Latin America and New York next week, and returning just prior to the beginning of Rosh Hashana on September 20.
Netanyahu, who was particularly sanguine about Israel’s standing in the world, said that Israel today is “in a different place” than before. He said that the alliance with the United States is “stronger than ever” and that – in addition – there are strong ties with Europe, with openings being made in eastern Europe.
“There are great breakthroughs on all the continents; our return to Africa and the expansion of our technical assistance there is leading to a great deal of interest on the continent,” he said. He added that important breakthroughs were made this past year in Asia as well – China, India and Japan – as well as with the Muslim countries there, especially Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, which he visited in December.
Netanyahu also praised a “great change” with Russia, which he said was of great importance in terms of connecting economic and cultural interests, and also – referring to the situation in Syria – because of the strategic importance of coordinating with Moscow.
Referring to his upcoming trip to Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, before going to the UN General Assembly in New York, Netanyahu said that Latin America was a “huge market in a large bloc of important countries.”
This breakthrough, he said, was made possible because a basic assumption – that the world will open to Israel only if there is an agreement with the Palestinians – has proven false. Such an agreement, which Netanyahu said Israel wants, will help Israel’s standing in the world, “but the world opens without it.”
He said this is happening because Israel is developing two strengths, which are leading to a third. It is cultivating its economic-technological power, which enables it to nurture unique military-intelligence capabilities, and that combination leads to diplomatic strength.
“The whole world is changing,” he said. “This does not mean that it is changing in international forums, at the UN, or UNESCO. But what we have here is a tremendous change that is happening despite, unfortunately, the Palestinians still not having changed their conditions for a diplomatic arrangement that are unacceptable to a large part of the public.”