Netanyahu möter Österrikes förbundskansler Sebastian Kurz

Netanyahu möter Österrikes förbundskansler Sebastian Kurz

Netanyahu: Ni vet mycket väl att Israel är den enda sanna demokratin i Mellanöstern. Det är den enda platsen i regionen som delar och försvarar de värderingar som Europa håller så högt: frihet, pluralism, jämställdhet. 

Premiärminister Benjamin Netanyahu mötte igår Österrikes föbundskansler Sebastian Kurz. Bland de avtal som undertecknades återfanns en viljeförklaring om vetenskapligt samarbete samt finansiering av vetenskaplig forskning mellan Israels vetenskapsministerium och Österrikes vetenskapsfond.

Netanyahu:

“Chancellor Kurz, Sebastian, it’s a pleasure to welcome you back in Israel. You are a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people. I think you demonstrated that today when you went to the Kotel, to the Western Wall, and I hope that other European leaders will follow your important example.

We deeply appreciate the steps taken by the Austrian government and the Austrian parliament in recent months, most notably among them your speech, a wonderful speech of the 80th anniversary of the Anschluss. You addressed historical responsibility. You clearly opposed anti-Semitism and you spoke about Jewish life in Austria. You said, and I want to quote this, “Austria was not only a victim but also a perpetrator.” These are courageous and bold words and I think they chart the course that you’re leading in Austria and our relationship, one that I support very, very much.

You have backed up your words with actions. You’ve shown zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism; you established a place of remembrance in Vienna listing the names of all 60,000 Austrian Jews who perished in the Holocaust; you’re funding youth visits to Mauthausen and education and memorial projects. Yesterday you announced in Yad Vashem a four million euro fund for a heritage center in Yad Vashem. We are deeply grateful for these and other important steps and for your leadership.

You know very well that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East. It’s the one place in the region that shares and defends the values that Europe holds dear: freedom, pluralism, equality. We welcome the Austrian presidency of the EU beginning on July 1st. I believe that you said yesterday that Europe should take Israel’s security concerns into account. I think this is very important. Sometimes we feel that that is not always the case.

You also said that during Austria’s presidency, you will raise these concerns, as well as anti-Semitism. I must say, this is a breath of fresh air and this is leadership. I’ve instructed the Director General of the Foreign Ministry, Mr. Yuval Rotem, to intensify the contacts with the Foreign Ministry of Austria so that we may bring these goals that you have outlined into fruition during your presidency.

Finally, Sebastian, I want to tell you how moved I was and how many Israelis have been moved by the fact that you have actually moved things forward, you’ve moved our relationship, which between Austria and Israel was always good, but you are taking it to greater heights. I know this is personally important for you and I want you to know that it’s personally important for me. But what we understand too is that this intensifies the bond between Israel and Austria, which I think is important for our common future. So thank you once again and welcome friend, welcome to Jerusalem.

Kurz:

“First of all, I would like to thank you for taking time, thank you for receiving us, thank you for your really kind words but I would also like to thank you for the personal relationship we have always had during the last years when I was Foreign Minister.

Today the relations between Austria and Israel are extremely good. The trade relations are growing and tourism is at all-time high. But most importantly, I would like to underline what you said. We Austrians know that in light of our own history, we have a special responsibility towards Israel and the Jewish people.

I can assure you that Austria will fight all forms of anti-Semitism in Europe with determination. Be it the still existing one or also new imported anti-Semitism.

We also know that our responsibility does not end at our borders. We want to support the State of Israel and also your security needs, you mentioned that. You live in a dangerous neighborhood and your neighbors are not like ours – Liechtenstein or Switzerland. And so we understand the difference. But we understand that your situation is a different one and therefore we will try to raise awareness in Europe for the special situation and the special security needs of Israel.

Our visit is also the opportunity to foster the relations between our two countries. I’m happy that I’m here together with our Minister for Education and that we are able to enhance our cooperation on education, research and youth exchange.

Thank you very much for your receiving us. Thank you for your hospitality and also for the good relations we have between Israel and Austria.”

Foto: GPO/Haim Zach

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