PM Netanyahu To European Union: Time To Start Appreciating Israel
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ended his four-day trip to Lithuania by calling on the European Union to begin appreciating intelligence provided by the Jewish state that saves lives on the continent. The Israeli leader regularly publicly stresses Israel’s contribution to keeping Europeans safe, most recently in June when he told a group of ambassadors from NATO countries that Israeli intel has helped stop terrorists from using civilian airplanes to carry out attacks “of the worst kind” in Europe. Jerusalem has an up-and-down relationship with Brussels, which often fiercely criticizes Israeli policies in the West Bank, specifically the construction of Jewish homes in territories the Palestinians claim as part of a future state. Another major point of contention is Iran, with Netanyahu having vehemently opposed the nuclear deal that U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from and which the EU is still trying to salvage. It is within this context that the Israeli leader traveled to Lithuania to meet with counterparts from Baltic nations—including Latvia and Estonia—which are considered sympathetic to Israel’s positions and might therefore act as a bulwark against what many in Jerusalem view as the EU’s pro-Palestinian bias. To this end, Netanyahu has found common cause with numerous Eastern and Central European countries, notably members of the so-called Visegrad Group comprising Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The strategy appeared to pay dividends in May, when reported objections by Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania prevented the EU from issuing a joint statement that would have denounced the relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem.