Friday, 1 Dec 2023 - 18 of Kislev, 5784

‘Israel’s relations with the EU : much more positive than it looks from outside’

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‘’The only thing that I wish for the coming year is that we have more of the same in our relations,” says Haim Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the EU and NATO.

‘’I am very proud of the positive momentum that we have in our relations with the European Union,’’ said Israel’s ambassador to the EU and NATO, Haim Regev.

‘’I don’t agree that it is tough and challenging. I think that it is much more positive than it looks from outside,’’ he added in an address  to a Jewish New Year reception held Wesdnesday  in the European Parliament.

The event was organized by the European Jewish Association together with the European Jewish Community Center and hosted by Spanish MEP José Ramon Bauza Diaz from the Renew political group.

He mentioned the visits to Israel  last year of European Commission Ursula Von der Leyen and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola. ‘’On top of their speeches, we saw how much the bond between Israel and the EU is so strong.’’

‘’The only thing that I wish fort he coming year is that we have more of the same in our relations.’’

Hélène Le Gal, Managing Director Midde East and North Africa at the EU External Service.Picture from EJP.

He added: ‘’We just marked three years since the signing of the Abraham Accords. It was a huge change to the region. I see with us today my dear friend the Ambassador of the UAE. I said it regularly: it has become a routine for us to meet. Once it was historic. Now we see each other on a regular basis. This is the biggest achievement of the Abraham Accords.’’

‘’I just want to wish for the next year that we have more countries that will join us. Hoperfully the Saudis and others. Also the Palestinians who are our neighbors, they live next to us and I wish that we will see some progress,” he added.

‘’Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, reminds us of the importance of mutual understanding, respect and cooperation between our communities and our nations. Let’s work together for a brighter future of peace, tolerance and prosperity for all.’’

Also speaking at the reception was Hélène Le Gal, Managing Director for Mideast and North Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS) and a former French ambassador to Israel. She noted the upcoming visit of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrel, to Israel.

She also mentioned the Russian aggression against Ukraine which continues to top the EU agenda. ‘’We are grateful for Israel’s support and we hope that this will continue. Every Jewish New Year there is this great celebration in Uman, Ukraine, with thousands of pilgrims coming from Israel and other parts of the world. This year there was not less than 35,000 people cerlebrating Rosh Hashana in Ukraine. It illustrates the resilience of Ukraine during the war.’’

Le Gal reiterated the EU’s commitment to fight antisemitism ‘’which is totally incompatible with the values and principles of the European Union,’’ as well as the EU strategy to combat it. She mentioned the recent European Commission President announcement of a contribution for a new section at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Memorial Center in Jerusalem, dedicated to Jewish life in Europe before the Shoah.


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