Austria vows to raise Europe’s awareness for Israel’s security-needs during Vienna’s upcoming EU Presidency

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Jerusalem with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, during which the Israeli leader praised him for his stance on anti-Semitism as well as Vienna’s assertion of Europe’s responsibility for the security of the State of Israel. Netanyahu further declared Israel as “the only true democracy in the Middle East… ” stressing it to be “The one place in the region that shares and defends the values that Europe holds dear, including: Freedom, pluralism and equality.” “You know very well that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. It’s the one place in the region that shares and defends the values that Europe holds dear: freedom, pluralism, equality. We welcome the Austrian presidency of the EU beginning on July 1st. I believe that you said yesterday that Europe should take Israel’s security concerns into account. I think this is very important. Sometimes we feel that that is not always the case. You also said that during Austria’s presidency, you will raise these concerns, as well as anti-Semitism. I must say, this is a breath of fresh air and this is leadership. I’ve instructed the Director General of the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Yuval Rotem, to intensify the contacts with the Foreign Ministry of Austria so that we may bring these goals that you have outlined into fruition during your presidency,” Netanyahu said.


Chancellor Kurz, on his part, reiterated Austria’s historic responsibility towards Israel and the Jewish people – vowing to fight “all forms of anti-Semitism in Europe with determination,” while defending Israel with determination from those that seek to harm its security. “We Austrians know that in light of our own history, we have a special responsibility towards Israel and the Jewish people. I can assure you that Austria will fight all forms of anti-Semitism in Europe with determination. Be it the still existing one or also new imported anti-Semitism. We also know that our responsibility does not end at our borders. We want to support the State of Israel and also your security needs, you mentioned that. You live in a dangerous neighborhood and your neighbors are not like ours – Liechtenstein or Switzerland. And so, we understand the difference. But we understand that your situation is a different one and therefore we will try to raise awareness in Europe for the special situation and the special security needs of Israel,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.



Following their meeting, which ended with a series of bilateral agreements signings, Chancellor Kurz’ attended an event that was held by the American Jewish Committee’s conference, to which EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini was also invited, but announced that she would not be attending at the last moment – after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reportedly refused to meeting with her, in protest of her stance on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as well as her ongoing resolve to preserve the nuclear agreement with Iran.