After several years of deadlock, followed by the improvement of relations between Israel and NATO subsequent to Israel's compromise with Turkey on the Marmara incident, an agreement on the protection of classified information has been signed this month. NATO office of security director Wendy Bashnan and Israel Ministry of Defense director of security Nir Ben Menashe signed the agreement.
The agreement is important for expanding the sharing of intelligence by Israel and NATO, with an emphasis on the growing power of terrorist groups in North Africa and other countries in the region.
As part of the improved relations between Israel and NATO following the withdrawal of Turkey's veto on doing business with Israel, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, who also serves as Israel's Ambassador to the EU, has been appointed Ambassador to NATO. Opening a representative office within NATO may seem at first glance a mere technical matter, but it has major importance and has led, among other things, to Israel being present during NATO debates, as well as the intelligence cooperation agreement.
In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Brussels in 10 days to meet with NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg.
Netanyahu will also meet with the European Union (EU) foreign ministers. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini yesterday officially announced an upcoming meeting with Netanyahu on Monday, December 11. The meeting will take place around a meeting of the European Council on Foreign Relations the same day. European Council president Donald Tusk (the equivalent of the EU's prime minister) will visit Israel next week. The EU announcement of Tusk's visit said that he would speak with Netanyahu about relations between Israel and the EU, and about regional topics.
Visits by Israeli prime ministers to Brussels, especially to the EU's offices there, are rare; the last visit by an Israeli prime minister was 22 years ago. Relations between Israel and the EU have been tense for years.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on November 29, 2017
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