Netanyahu lauded Israel’s cooperation with Kazakhstan as a model for improved relations with other Muslim countries, which he hopes will help land Israel a seat on the UN Security Council.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to the Presidential palace in Astana in an historic first-ever visit by an Israeli premier to the country.
Netanyahu had a private session with Nazarbayev, followed by an expanded meeting.
The two countries signed agreements on research and development, aviation, civil service commissions and agricultural cooperation, as well as a declaration on establishing an agricultural consortium. It was also agreed that teams would be established to study high-tech and security development.
“We want to be here, we want to be partners with you,” Netanyahu stated, specifically relating to agriculture, science, technology and security.
Netanyahu commended the Muslim-majority country for its attitude of tolerance towards Jews.
“This is something that Jews who are here feel, and Jews who came from Kazakhstan to Israel value deeply,” he said. “They’re a human bridge, but they’re also your best ambassadors. They speak very warmly of Kazakhstan and of the attitude towards all religions here.”
‘Change that the World is Waiting For’
“This is something that I think is important today for the world. What you see today are the leaders of a Muslim state and the leader of a Jewish state shaking hands, working to cooperate to create a better future for the citizens of our countries. But I think that this example of Muslim-Jewish cooperation is something that reverberates throughout the world,” Netanyahu underscored, saying that Israel’s “relations with our Muslim Arab neighbors are changing dramatically. Not all of it is public, some of it is, but it’s changing dramatically. And I view the relations with Kazakhstan as being part of this great change that the world is waiting for.”
The Muslim countries in contact with Israel “want to see not the forces of intolerance, the forces of tyranny, the forces of terror. They want to see the forces of progress and of amicability and of friendship, and this is what this meeting represents,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu made a surprise statement when he announced that Israel is seeking a seat on the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) by 2019.
“I must tell you that I said that my hope is, and I say this to all our friends, that the great partnership that we are building here will also be reflected in international forums like the UN. That’s beginning to happen. This ship doesn’t move overnight, we understand that. It’s a big ship, but it’s going to change. It’s changing already. And in this context, I asked President Nazarbayev to support the Israeli bid for the Security Council seat. You know that we supported Kazakhstan’s successful bid to be in the Security Council. Now if you want a real change in the world, imagine the State of Israel on the Security Council of the United Nations – that’s a change. And it’s supposed to be in 2019, and I think it’s possible. And with your help, it will be realized.”
Israeli Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who signed the agreements on standardization, double taxation and agricultural cooperation, told a meeting of the mixed economic commission that “there is great potential for economic cooperation between Israel and Kazakhstan, and we decided on a tangible action plan to put it into effect.”
Netanyahu’s visit to the Kazakh capital was preceded by his historic visit to Azerbaijan.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News