Israel will open an official mission at NATO’s Brussels headquarters, the alliance announced Wednesday, reflecting Israel’s strong ties with American and European military partners, its growing rapprochement with Turkey, and growing regional and global concern about violence caused by Iran and ISIS.
While Israel is not formally a member of NATO, the United States considers Israel to be a “major non-NATO ally.” Turkey, which is a part of NATO, had opposed Israeli efforts to open a permanent mission in the past, but this objection has apparently been dropped amid the two countries’ efforts to restore diplomatic ties. According to The Wall Street Journal, the push for renewed ties between the two nations “comes amid threats to both nations, most crucially the Syrian conflict on their borders, the rise of the extremist group Islamic State and what many regional governments view as Iran’s increasingly assertive military and political posture.”
Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar will also open permanent missions at NATO headquarters, reflecting the alliance’s interest in promoting stronger ties with Middle Eastern nations.
Israel’s ambassador to the European Union will also serve as the head of the mission to NATO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement.
This is due to our determined fight against terrorism, our technological know-how and our intelligence services.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) May 4, 2016
NATO's invite is an important expression of Israel's global standing. Countries want to learn from our security & intelligence expertise.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 4, 2016
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