By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijan-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Commission has hailed the cooperation between the two countries in an online conference on "Azerbaijan-Israel strategic partnership".
Arye Gut, Executive Director of the House of Azerbaijan in Israel and moderator of the event, noted that this is the first Israeli-Azerbaijani event at this level with the participation of members of the Azerbaijani Parliament and the Israeli Knesset.
“We are writing history with you - we are holding an online conference during the pandemic. Regardless of who is in power in Israel, the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations are positive, the political dialogue is carried out at the highest level, and today these relations are a real strategic partnership,” Gut added.
The Israeli expert underlined that Azerbaijan-Israel cooperation in trade is developing rapidly and is about $3.5 billion.
Previously, the focus was on the oil and gas sector, but now this cooperation extends to other segments of the economy, including agriculture, high technology, health, and military-technical cooperation, added Gut.
“Israel is one of the main buyers of Azerbaijani oil on the world market.”
Arye Gut also touched upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Khojaly genocide.
“Numerous representatives of people's diplomacy, originally from Azerbaijan, including the House of Azerbaijan in Israel, actively work and represent the republic with dignity, conveying to the Israeli society the truth about Azerbaijan, its history and culture, as well as the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The pain of the Azerbaijani people is the pain of the Jewish people and vice versa”.
Therefore, the Holocaust Remembrance Day is held in Azerbaijan every year, and the victims of the Khojaly genocide are commemorated in Israel, Gut noted.
Member of the Azerbaijan-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Commission, MP Anatoly Rafailov said that the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations are an example for a number of countries. “ Azerbaijan is one of the few countries in the Islamic world that has established friendly relations with both the Jewish people and the State of Israel”.
Speaking about the history of relations between Azerbaijan and Israel, Rafailov added that attitudes towards Jews have always been good in Azerbaijan, nationalism and anti-Semitism have never been felt in the country.
“The Jewish community of about 80,000, originally from Azerbaijan, still loves and continues to promote Azerbaijan after moving to Israel and other parts of the world”.
The Azerbaijani MP highlighted the fact that the events of April 2016 proved that Israel provides Azerbaijan with political, diplomatic and moral support, as well as very important military-technological support.
“Azerbaijan is one of the few countries in the world where people of different nationalities and religions can live together peacefully in an open, tolerant and free society. The Red Settlement in the Guba region of Azerbaijan is a unique place in the world where mountainous Jews live compactly after Israel,” added Rafailov.
Furthermore, Rafailov noted that there is a Jewish religious community here, and a "Jewish Heritage Center" will be opened soon.
In his turn, former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sne said that the Azerbaijani-Israeli relations must go beyond military cooperation.
“Cooperation between our countries is developing well, but I would like to further strengthen relations, for example, in the field of culture, at the level of academic institutions, as well as in the field of technology.”
Azerbaijani MP Shahin Seyidzade spoke about the close cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel in the field of education, the activity of the Agency for International Cooperation for Development (MASHAV) of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Azerbaijan.
He emphasized that it is necessary to expand cooperation between the two countries in the field of technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, business incubators, exchange of experience in the field of innovative solutions to problems related to drinking water and irrigation water in Azerbaijan.
Speaking at the conference, President of the Holon Institute of Technology, Professor Eduard Yakubov said that a successful Jewish community originally from Azerbaijan, an effective operation “Azerbaijani House in Israel” forms a positive image of Azerbaijan in Israel.
“For many years, Azerbaijanis of Azerbaijani origin have been helping to build a strong and effective economic and even geopolitical partnership between Azerbaijan and Israel,” added he.
Noting the historical coexistence of the Jewish community with Azerbaijanis in Azerbaijan, Andrei Kojinov said: “I know that Israel recently sent some medical equipment to Azerbaijan. We have the same level of coronavirus infection, and we are obliged to help each other in this matter."
Speaking about the strategic importance of Israeli-Azerbaijani cooperation, Yevgeny Sova said that Israel considers Azerbaijan an important strategic ally in the South Caucasus and an active geopolitical actor in the region.
Then, Azerbaijani MP Ramin Mammadov, emphasized the effective activity of diaspora organizations between Israel and Azerbaijan, the establishment and the role of subsequent activities of "AzIz" organization in this process.
Then Rafailov concluded that the friendship between Azerbaijan and Israel is an example for the entire Islamic world and shows that Jewish and Muslim states can live in peace and solidarity.
The meeting was held with the initiative of the head of the Azerbaijan-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Commission, MP Anatoly Rafailov, with the organizational support of the Azerbaijan House in Israel and moderated by Arye Gut, the head of the Baku International Center for Multiculturalism in Israel.
The meeting was attended by members of the Azerbaijan-Israel Interparliamentary Friendship Commission, Azerbaijani MPs Anatoly Rafailov, Asim Mollazade, Ramin Mammadov and Shahin Seyidzade, as well as members of the Israeli Knesset - Yevgeny Sova from the "Israel is our home" party, Andrey Kojinov from the "Yesh-Atid-Telem" party, President of the Institute of Technology of Holon, Professor Eduard Yakubov and former Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sne attended.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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