"Azerbaijan's position is of the utmost importance for Israel"
Goltsman and Osovtsov talk to Caliber.Az
INTERVIEWS 14 March 2023 - 09:50
The establishment of Azerbaijan's embassy in Israel and the first interview with the Azerbaijani ambassador in the country are in the limelight of the leading Middle Eastern media. Analysts make forecasts regarding the future relations between the two countries; meanwhile, Baku and Tel Aviv are in fact demonstrating a growing dynamic of cooperation in a variety of areas from economic to political-military.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev recently received Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov is about to make his first official visit to Tel Aviv.
Relations between Azerbaijan and Israel have always been marked by one important feature - not unilateral, but mutual interest. Israeli journalist and publicist, head of the International Relations Commission of the Israeli Union of Journalists, Rostislav Goltsman stressed this in an interview with Caliber.Az.
"Let me remind you that Azerbaijan is the key supplier of crude oil and oil products to Israel and about one-third of the oil consumed in Israel is Azerbaijani. And the United Arab Emirates, for example, will have a long way to go to reach this level," said the Israeli journalist.
And Israel, he noted, has always supported Baku in the issue of South Azerbaijan, which is now part of Iran. It was especially evident during the de-occupation of Karabakh when Azerbaijan relied heavily on Israeli experience and cooperation in the field of defence technology.
"I must say that Azerbaijan is very popular in Israel. Undoubtedly, natives of your country, who are now at the head of various public organizations, make a great contribution to this. And not only that - many former Baku citizens work in Israeli media and have become well-known media personalities", Goltsman said.
In terms of mutual political interest, the Israeli publicist points out that both countries' politicians should be given credit.
"Benjamin Netanyahu and Ilham Aliyev are two extraordinary personalities, and they have found a common language and identified common ground that is important for both countries. First of all in relations with Türkiye, where we had a noticeable pause. But we can remember the exercises of the Turkish and Israeli armies in the nineties, such as the unique ones in which the military airfield in Israel was drawn down and set up in Türkiye," he added.
According to Goltsman, the important task now is to restore Israeli-Turkish relations as quickly and expeditiously as possible. And here, of course, the role of Azerbaijani President Aliyev is invaluable, who, according to the Israeli expert, "is the main generator of this process.
"As for the full-fledged development of Azerbaijani-Israeli contacts, until recently this was hindered by the absence of an Azerbaijani ambassador to Israel. Therefore, the appointment of Mr. Mammadov to this post is a huge step forward. Undoubtedly, it is a serious impulse and a certain new stage in relations between our countries. I have some information about how it will be manifested, but I would not like to hurry and share it immediately. Let's give a month for concrete actions. Usually, we have a hundred days for the development of significant events, but this time it will be faster. I would like to point out, however, that we are on the verge of big and important new developments in the cooperation between our countries. However, I can give a small hint: in the Organisation of Islamic States, Israel has always noted the constructive activity of Azerbaijan. And Sunni countries cooperate with us, as it is usually noted. It is well known that Azerbaijan is a Shiite country. Among other things, this is why Azerbaijan's position is very important for the State of Israel," Goltsman emphasized.
Pulling back the veil on the future, the Israeli journalist said, "It is possible that our countries are waiting for the conclusion of a strategic partnership agreement. And this issue was once discussed by Netanyahu and Aliyev".
The former Russian politician, professor of philosophy, and analyst of the World Zionist Organisation Alexander Osovtsov, who now lives in Israel, is of the same opinion. He told Caliber.Az that the Israeli-Azerbaijani relations have indeed a long-standing, multilateral, and very deep character, which is generally known throughout the world.
According to the analyst, there is such a good and warm attitude towards Azerbaijan in Israel that "the news of the embassy opening and the ambassador's arrival was taken rather as a surprise". The fact is that many Israelis thought they had such an embassy in their country long ago.
"How else could it be? Who else, if not the Azerbaijani embassy? Some might say Azerbaijan, some might say the closest ally in the region. And the matter here is both the very essence of Azerbaijani-Israeli relations and common friends and enemies," Osovtsov claims, stressing that "first of all, we are talking about Iran".
"But it is not just a question of military cooperation, but also of trade, cultural and simply human relations," he added.
"Azerbaijan, on the one hand, is traditionally a Muslim state and, on the other hand, a secular state, and it is certainly much easier, pleasant, unproblematic for us to deal with it and maintain any kind of ties. In terms of influencing these trends, the coming to power of the coalition led by Prime Minister Netanyahu does not make much difference here. I assure you that the process of rapprochement of Azerbaijani-Israeli relations will continue regardless of who is in power in Israel. The relations between Israel and Azerbaijan will only expand, and there is a complete consensus in Israeli society and politics on this issue," Osovtsev summed up.
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