Foreign Ministry, Jerusalem

The foreign relations of Israel refers to diplomatic relations and international agreements between the State of Israel and other countries around the world. Israel joined the United Nations on May 11, 1949. Today, Israel has diplomatic ties with 162 foreign countries.[1] Since 1967, diplomatic relations have been established with several Arab and Muslim countries.

Diplomatic relationsEdit

Foreign relations of Israel Map

World map showing status of relations between Israel and other countries. The map on the right is for general information purposes only, and can be misunderstood, as there are several technicalities in which countries that may not have "full" diplomatic relations with Israel.

After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish state experienced diplomatic isolation and Arab League boycotts. Currently Israel has diplomatic relations with 163 countries.

No recognition or diplomatic relationsEdit

Israel has no diplomatic relations with 36 countries, 20 of them members of the 22-member Arab League. Some of the countries, with which Israel has no diplomatic relations, accept Israeli passports and acknowledge other Israeli marks of sovereignty; however, most of these countries do not recognize Israel as a State;

On January 14, 2009, Bolivia and Venezuela suspended diplomatic ties with Israel and on January 16, 2009, Qatar and Mauritania suspended ties with Israel, both political and economic. The move came after Bashar al-Assad and Khaled Meshaal called on all Arab states to break ties with the Jewish state, in protest against Israel's offensive in Gaza, in Doha, Qatar. On March 6, 2009, the Israeli diplomatic delegation to Mauritania left the country ending more than 9 years of diplomatic ties, following a demand from the Mauritanian authorities to close the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott within 48 hours.[9] The Mauritanian delegation to Israel left earlier without sending official notice to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[10]

The UN members that do not recognize Israel as a state are[11]:

Afghanistan[12], Algeria[13], Bahrain[14], Bangladesh[15], Chad[16], Cuba, Indonesia, Iran[17], Iraq[18], North Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya[19], Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates[20] and Yemen.

Partial recognition and/or trade agreementsEdit

Comoros recognizes Israel but has no official diplomatic relations with it[21]. The two countries have mutual trade relations.

In October 2000, Israeli diplomatic missions in Bahrain, Morocco and Oman were closed as these countries suspended relations with Israel, although trade and economic ties continue. Morocco and Tunisia usually allow Israeli citizens to enter their territories with Israeli passports as tourists. Israel's warm relations with Morocco's King Hassan II are worthy of note. Despite the lack of full diplomatic relations, Hassan worked behind the scenes to promote Israel-Arab peace from the 1970s onward. When he died in 1999, then-prime minister Ehud Barak and the Moroccan-born foreign minister, David Levy, flew to Rabat for his funeral.[22]

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic of Western Sahara partially recognizes Israel.[citation needed]

North Korea allowed Israeli citizens to visit its territory with Israeli passports despite not having diplomatic relations with Israel.[23]



Main article: Angola-Israel relations

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


Eritrea developed relations with Israel shortly after gaining its independence in 1993, despite protests among Arab countries. Israeli-Eritrean relations are close, and Israeli officers possibly helped lead Eritrean troops in the Hanish Islands during the Hanish Islands conflict with Yemen. The president of Eritrea has visited Israel for medical treatment.[24] However, Eritrea condemned Israeli military action during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict.[25]

South AfricaEdit

Main article: Israel-South Africa relations

Relations between Israel and the Union of South Africa were established as early as 1948, the Nationalist Prime Minister Daniel François Malan paying a visit to Israel and "forgetting" about the clearly antisemitic profile his own party earned during the 1930s and by its opposition to joining in the Anti-Hitlerite coalition in World War II. After the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, Israel became one of the loudest critics of South African apartheid regime, which, along with Israel's intensive cooperation with the newly independent Sub-Saharan states, brought about a break in relations with Pretoria. After 1967, and particularly in the 1970s, Israel became Pretoria's strategic partner. Israel joined the West in the late 1980s in boycotting South Africa before the collapse of apartheid. Relations between modern-day Israel and South Africa are increasingly warm, although South Africa has been an outspoken critic of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.


In May 2009, Israel and Togo signed a "pact for cooperation in the economic, agricultural and educational fields" with each other.[26]


Main article: Israel-Zimbabwe relations

Israel-Zimbabwe relations are extraordinarily poor with the state-run publication, The Herald, questioning the legitimacy of Israel's existence. The Zimbabwean government recognizes an independent Palestinian state and advocates a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Mugabe government strongly supported the PLO under Yasser Arafat in the 1980s. Zimbabwe formally established relations with the PLO in March 1983. Ali Halimeh served as the PLO's ambassador to Zimbabwe from 1983 to the 1990s. Israeli relations with apartheid-era South Africa, built up in the 1970s by South Africa Prime Minister B.J. Vorster, fueled Zimbabwe's verbal support for the PLO and comparisons of Zionism to apartheid.

Arab statesEdit

Main article: Arab–Israeli conflict

Israel has full diplomatic relations with Egypt (the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty was signed in 1979) and Jordan (the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace was signed in 1994). If a passport shows any evidence of travel to Israel, barring a diplomatic passport, the holder is forbidden entry to some Arab and Muslim states.

On October 1, 1994, the Persian Gulf states publicly announced their support for a review of the Arab boycott, in effect abolishing the secondary and tertiary boycotts against Israel. Israel has diplomatic relations with 9 non-Arab Muslim states and with 39 of the 43 Sub-Saharan African states that are not members of the Arab League.

Following the US 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.[27]

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 Saudi boycott was not cancelled.[28][29][30]



Despite being a close ally of the United States, Afghanistan has no relations with Israel and has criticized its existence several times. Along with neighboring ally Iran, Afghans consider Israel an enemy state. In the wake of the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict, 50,000 Afghans signed up in Kabul as a symbolic gesture to fight the Israelis.[31] Chants of "death to Israel" rang through the streets of the Afghan capital Kabul for a week.[31] Many Afghans lined up to donate blood to Palestinians, even though their own country is very poor as well.[31] In January 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Iranian ally Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel's invasion of Gaza a massacre "barbaric like the Communist invasion (of 1979)."[31]


Main article: Armenian-Israeli relations

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. Some anti-Jewish sentiments are still present in Armenia. In 2002, a book entitled National System (written by Romen Yepiskoposyan in Armenian and Russian) was printed and presented at the Union of Writers of Armenia denies Holocaust, In that book, Jews (along with Turks) are identified as number-one enemies of Armenians.[32].Furthermore in 2008 Armenia's foreign minister stated Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and stresseed that the country has a right to benefit form the energy.[33] 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, but does not recognize the Armenian Genocide , which is one of the few countries in the Middle East that recognizes Israel's right to exist.[34]


Main article: Israel-Azerbaijan relations

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.[35]


Although Israel was one of the first countries that recognized Bangladesh (4 February,1972) upon her independence; 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". Bangladesh follows the same policy as other Muslim states supporting an independent Palestinian state and an end to the occupation. Because there is an absence of ties, there is no economic relations between the two states and Bangladesh is the only Muslim country to have a complete ban on Israel, ranging from travel, trade (direct and indirect) and other sectors of bilateral relations.


Main article: People's Republic of China–Israel relations

On January 9, 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 US-China 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.[36][37]

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.[38] In 2007, China launched a countrywide "Festival of Culture" in Israel to mark 15 years of relations.[39]


Relations between Israel and Georgia are currently relatively close.[40] 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[40] 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 - 1,000, have trained the Georgian military for some time.[40]


Main article: Indo-Israeli relations

India established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in 1992 and has since become Israel's strongest ally in Asia.[41][42] The two countries cooperate in anti-terrorist activities in the Middle East and Southern Asia. Israel is India's 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.[43] Co-operation has taken place in the space sector as well with India launching Israeli satellites.

Israel and India share intelligence on terrorist groups. They have developed close defense and security ties since establishing diplomatic relations in 1991. Israel is India's biggest arms supplier, overtaking Russia in 2009. 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.[44] 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.[45]


Main article: Iran-Israel relations

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. Currently, the countries do not have diplomatic relations with each other, due to Iran's withdrawal of its recognition of Israel.

Comments made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad[46] were perceived by Israel as threat of destruction.[47][48][49][50]

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.


Main article: Maldives-Israel relations

Relations between Israel and Maldives was not very strong until the new government of the Maldives came into power in 2008. From 1978 to 2008 there was no official relation between Israel and the Maldives. The current Maldivian government despite with lot of public criticism has decided to initiate the relation between both the countries. Maldives is a small country and is needy for money in this hard economic time and it hopes to get a hand from Israel to recover. Maldivies has accused its previous allies like Iraq and Libya, saying that for their own agenda, they have mislead Maldives. Being one of the few, 100% Muslim countries in the world, Maldives is criticising former Arab allies like Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt and cementing the relationship between Israel.


Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) was one of the first countries to recognize Israel (first in Southeast Asia) and establish diplomatic relations with Israel. Myanmar has also become one of Israel's strongest allies in the region, in terms of both technical assistance and also the much debated and rumoured military links. Premiers from both sides such as U Nu and David Ben-Gurion made state visits to each others' countries in the 1950s.[51] [52] Myanmar 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-Pakistan relations

Pakistan has stated it will not recognize the State of Israel until a Palestinian nation-state is created. In 2003, President Pervez Musharraf raised the issue of possible diplomatic relations with Israel,[53] and in 2005 the foreign ministers of the two countries held talks for the first time.[54] However, following the meeting Musharraf said Pakistan will not recognise the state of Israel until an independent Palestinian state is established,[55] - although, according to Musharraf, Pakistan will eventually recognise Israel.[56]


Main article: Israel-Japan relations

On May 15, 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.


On November 29, 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.[57] 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.[58][59]


Main article: Israel-Nepal relations

Israel-Nepal relations, first established in 1960, are based on mutual security concerns.[60] 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.[61]


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