Jerusalem Post: Celebrating 25 years of Azerbaijan-Israel Relations

Baku, April 8, AZERTAC

The Jerusalem Post has published an article by Arye Gut, Israeli expert on international relations, and Said Musayev, Azerbaijani researcher engaged in fighting against Antisemitism. Headlined “Celebrating 25 years of Azerbaijan-Israel Relations”, the article marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two counties. “Each year on 7 April, we mark the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between State of Israel and Azerbaijan. The Israeli-Azerbaijani partnership has evolved through their robust cooperation in various dimensions for more than two decades now. Israel was the one of the first’s countries, which recognized an independence of Azerbaijan. No country in Eurasia has closer or warmer ties with Israel than Azerbaijan. The relationship between the two countries is particularly surprising because Azerbaijan is a majority-Muslim country. However, the reasons for this close relationship lie in the longstanding friendship between Azerbaijanis and Jews living in Azerbaijan,” the article says.

“Located on the main strategic junctions of transport and energy in the South Caucasus region, which connects Central and Eastern Asia, "Azerbaijan is therefore one of the most important geopolitical pivots," said Zbigniew Brzezinski , Former National Security Advisor to the United States (during the administration of Jimmy Carter). Of course, Israel's interest in receiving reliable oil supplies in Azerbaijan, a strategic oil supplier, is an important factor in the relations between Azerbaijan and Israel. Azerbaijan became an oil producer and the volume of Azerbaijani oil delivered to Israel did not stop to increase more than 45 % of Israeli supplies.”

“Azerbaijan, a predominantly Shia Muslim country, is also home to several other ethnic and religious groups, including ancient Zoroastrian, Christian, and Jewish communities. Respect and tolerance for national minorities has played a vital role in the development of the country from antiquity to the days of the Silk Road to modernity. Minorities, as well as women, have been ubiquitous in Azerbaijani government since its independence from the Soviet Union. Unlike many cultures, Azerbaijanis have never viewed Jews as foreign or alien. Israelis with roots in Azerbaijan are doing a great deal to foster the emerging economic and even geopolitical cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel.”

The article highlights the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan. “Despite such large-scale murder and displacement, as a result of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, the core principle of peaceful coexistence continued to define Azerbaijani society. Even as violence has flared over the past more than 25 years of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijani society has maintained harmony among its religions and ethnicities. Today, Azerbaijan is a strong independent state, leader of the South Caucasus geopolitical and geoeconomic processes. Azerbaijan is conducting its own multi-vector foreign policy, independent from Turkey or from Tehran’s foreign policy. Thus, Israel and its people have great respect for Azerbaijan and its president, Ilham Aliyev. They appreciate the efforts of the grand development of the economy in Azerbaijan, which is becoming an important, strong, and independent actor on the international scene. Israel was close to Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict over Armenia's aggressor. Otherwise this partner country has shown its support in Azerbaijan for the return of Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 adjacent regions which unfortunately remained for 25 years under the occupation of Armenia.”

It also hails Azerbaijani-Israeli relations. “During his visit to Baku, Benjamin Netanyahu lauded Israeli-Azerbaijani ties as “something that we can show the world. The world sees so much intolerance, so much darkness, and here is an example of what relations can be and should be between Muslims and Jews everywhere,” said Netanyahu. Azerbaijan is not only a strategic partner of Israel, but also an example of interreligious and interethnic tolerance. The friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Israel are becoming more and more firm and unbreakable, which undoubtedly benefits both countries. During my repeated visits to Azerbaijan, I felt at home. I met with a number of officials, primarily with President Ilham Aliyev, which allowed us to significantly strengthen cooperation in such areas as high technology, agriculture, energy, and much more,” said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.”

“Azerbaijani Ambassador to the U.S. Elin Suleymanov told JNS.org that Netanyahu’s visit is significant not just from the perspective of intergovernmental relations, but because of Azerbaijan’s vibrant and thriving Jewish community. “This connection with the Jewish community is the backbone of our relations with Israel,” Suleymanov said.”

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