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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Azerbaijan’

Azerbaijan Signs Deal With Israel on Iron Dome

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

Azerbaijan’s Minister of Defense Industry Javer Jamalov told the Azeri Press Agency (APA) on Saturday his government has reached an agreement with Israel to purchase the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.

The Iron Dome system, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries, is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells, fired from a distance of four to 70 kilometers. The system is activated when the trajectory of the incoming projectile is headed toward a populated area.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, for a visit this past week with his wife Sara. The prime minister met with President Ilham Aliyev, who announced to reporters at the time that his government has spent some $4.8 billion in contracts with Israel over the past two decades on the purchase of defense equipment.

During Netanyahu’s visit to the country, agreements were signed in the fields of standardization, double taxation, agricultural cooperation and the establishment of a mixed commission on advancing bilateral cooperation on economic matters, science, technology, health, agriculture and trade.

Hana Levi Julian

Azerbaijan President: We Bought $4.8 Billion in Israeli Military Equipment

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Baku, and revealed that “so far the contracts between Azerbaijani and Israeli companies with respect to purchasing of defense equipment is close to 5 billion dollars. More precisely – $4,850,000,000. The biggest part of these contracts have already been executed and still we are continuing to work on that and we are very satisfied with the level of this cooperation.”

All this has been achieved in the 20 years since Netanyahu’s last visit to Azerbaijan, President Aliyev noted.

At the meeting, according to an Israeli press release, agreements were signed (Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin signed for Israel) on standardization, double taxation, agricultural cooperation and the establishment of a mixed commission on advancing bilateral cooperation on economic matters, science, technology, health, agriculture and trade.

President Aliyev reminded his Israeli guests that “for centuries Jews and Azerbaijanis lived in peace and friendship,” including “the times of Tsarist Russia, when Azerbaijan was a part of the Russian Empire,” as well as “during the time of the Soviet Union.”

“For your information,” Aliyev continued, “I’d like to say that there are seven synagogues in Azerbaijan, five of them in Baku; Jewish schools, you will visit one of them, Chabad Or Avner, the Jewish education center which was inaugurated in 2010. I remember that day because I was there at the inauguration ceremony and the late President made a video address to us. I am glad that Mr. Prime Minister has timed his tight schedule to visit that education center and also meet the representatives of the Jewish community.”

In his response, Netanyahu told his host, “We obviously have a robust relationship in energy. Now we’re talking about not just the sale of oil from Azerbaijan to Israel which is a very important part of our oil imports, we’re talking about using common facilities for export of gas and the linking of Israel’s gas exports potentially to a great pipeline that is being built as we speak right now from Azerbaijan into Turkey. This is obviously something that can strengthen both our economies and I think provide a larger service.”

“We can do, we think, wonders together in agriculture, in education, in IT, any area, and we welcome such cooperation because we think that ultimately the greatest resource that we have is this, it’s the resource of conceptual products, the ability to take all the industries, make them more efficient,” Netanyahu continued. “I gave an example of dairy-farming and I boast once again that we have the most productive cows in the world, more than the French cows or Dutch cows or even American cows. And this is something that replicates itself along many, many fields. So we welcome this cooperation to secure and better the future of both our nations.”

But regardless of the burgeoning economic ties between the two countries, Netanyahu told his host the unique aspect of their relationship is the fact that “Israel is the Jewish state, it’s a Jewish state. Azerbaijan is a Muslim state, predominantly Muslim population. Here you have an example of Muslims and Jews working together to secure a better future for both of us. And It’s an example that shines against the background of intolerance and lack of acceptance and mutual respect.”

Netanyahu called on the world’s nations to “come to Azerbaijan and see the friendship and the partnership between Israel and Azerbaijan. It’s not only good for both our countries and both our nations, I think it’s good for the region and good for the world.”


Joint Azeri-Israeli Presidential Fund Supports Local Jewish Education

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first stop on his eastern European tour on Tuesday was one he has spoken about and looked for to for some time: a meeting in Baku with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan at the Zagulba Palace.

On the agenda were signatures on agreements for trade and agriculture, taxes, economics issues, health, science and technology, with Environmental Protection Minister Zev Elkin signing on behalf of Israel. But it’s clear there was much more to this meeting.

The Azeri president said in his welcoming remarks that he believed Netanyahu’s visit would definitely strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations, and that he was looking forward to developing cooperation with Israel in tourism and education.

But in particular, Aliyev pointed out there are seven synagogues in Azerbaijan – five of them in Baku – and spoke with great pride about his country’s Jewish community as well as about those who had moved to Israel, and still maintained ties with family in Azerbaijan. He emphasized how glad he was that Netanyahu would have time to visit the Chabad Or Avner Jewish Education Center in Baku during his visit.

For his part, Netanyahu commented that the warm relationship between their two countries is especially unique in that “Israel is a Jewish state, and Azerbaijan is a Muslim state… This is an example of Muslims and Jews working together to secure a better future for both.”

After their talks, Netanyahu and his wife Sara met with members of the Azerbaijan Jewish community at the Or Avner Chabad Day School. They first met with pupils and sat with them for an open talk. Sara Netanyahu asked about their homes, Jewish customs at home and the study of Hebrew. The pupils also spoke about the weekly Torah portion. The prime minister and his wife told them that their son won the Bible Quiz and that the prime minister reads the weekly Torah portion with his son every Shabbat when the latter comes home from the IDF. Also discussed was Chanukah, the revolt of the Maccabees and their victory over the Greeks. Netanyahu told them that the Greeks are now friends of Israel.

The children said they pray every morning, go to the synagogue, eat kosher food, study at a Jewish school and keep Shabbat and the holidays. Sara Netanyahu congratulated the pupils and said, “We wish that you come to Israel both to visit and to live. We are waiting for you.” At the event with the Jewish community, schoolchildren sang Hebrew songs and waved Israeli and Azerbaijani flags.

The Israeli prime minister then told members of the Jewish community that he and his wife were pleased to be there, for two reasons: “One, we love Azerbaijan and two, we love Chabad. Relations with Azerbaijan are very close. They will be even better after this visit.

“I would like to say something about Chabad. Thirty-two years ago I met the Lubavitcher Rebbe for the first time and he told me, I had gone to the United Nations to be Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, and he told me: ‘You are going’, how he called it, ‘to the house of eternal darkness.’ As you know, he did not have a high opinion of the UN and in any case he told me: ‘You are going to the house of darkness and remember that if you light one candle of truth, it will shine a precious light that will be seen from far away.’

“Ever since, I have tried to do just as the Rebbe said,” Netanyahu said. “But I must say that there are also different situations. Sometimes one lights a candle in a place that has light and not darkness and this is the situation here in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Rebbe taught us love of Israel and of humanity and here there is love of Israel and of humanity.

“President Heydar Aliyev and his son, President Ilham Aliyev, established and are maintaining a fund that helps, as you said Mr. Minister, Jewish education here in an Islamic country. And in contrast to what then-MK Rivlin said, we are also contributing to it, the State of Israel is also helping it.

“And how could one not be moved by the splendid boys and girls that can be seen here? But I am very moved by something else, these two flags, the Star of David and the half-crescent. Look at these two flags, this is what we want to show the world – this is what can be and what needs to be.

“It is the exact opposite, but the exact opposite of the darkness; this light, this is the light that dispels the darkness. And this is the spirit that guides us in Israel, in Azerbaijan, in Chabad and – with divine help – in many other places around the world. Therefore, I am very, very pleased to be with you. Thank you, thank you from the heart.”

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu to Discuss UN Voting Record During Visit to Kazakhstan

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to leave for a brief visit to Azerbaijan next Tuesday, and then heads to Kazakhstan for a two-day visit, the first ever in that country by an Israeli prime minister.

The timing is not coincidental: two weeks later, Kazakhstan takes up its two-year rotating membership seat on the United Nation Security Council.

Both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are Muslim-majority nations, with the latter nearly always voting against Israel when it comes to the United Nations and other international arenas.

A former satellite of the USSR, Israeli foreign ministry officials have told JewishPress.com that Kazakhstan’s behavior – and that of nations in similar situations — is explained by simple economic survival. Russia, a close neighbor, almost always votes against Israel, as do the countries from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, of which Kazakhstan is a member.

But another part of the reason for Netanyahu’s visit is to build a “strategic partnership,” according to Israeli envoy to Kazakhstan, Michael Brodsky.

Brodsky wrote in The Astana Times on Wednesday that “Israel’s counterterrorism experience and training have always been of great value for Kazakhstan and other post-Soviet countries, but following a series of terrorist attacks in different Kazakh cities over the last year, the importance of closer cooperation in this field is now more evident than ever…”

The country is “struggling to prevent infiltration of extremists from neighboring Afghanistan,” he added. Kazakhstan is particularly concerned about home-grown terrorism taking root upon the return of several hundred nationals who had earlier traveled abroad to join the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization in Syria. Kazakhistan is hoping to learn from Israel’s experience.

Hana Levi Julian

PM Netanyahu to Visit Australia, Singapore, Kazakhstan & Azerbaijan

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans a multi-stop tour of the eastern hemisphere in the next three months, with visits to Australia, Singapore and Kazakhstan, all of which have never before been visited by an Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu also will visit Azerbaijan, where he once made a stop in 1997 during a previous term as prime minister. Israel buys most of its oil from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

The prime minister of Singapore has already visited Israel, back in April 2016, so Netanyahu’s visit comes as a reciprocal call, and the Israeli leader has been talking for months about a visit to “down under” as well.

Netanyahu is also planning a trip to Togo in Spring 2017 to attend a summit with West African nations.

In addition, President Reuven Rivlin is set to travel to India in two weeks, following the recent visit to Jerusalem this month by India’s President Pranab Mukherjee.

“Israel’s international relations are spreading in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and many other places,” said Netanyahu in remarks at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

“We realize that this development flows from Israel’s technological and economic strength on one hand, and its security and intelligence capabilities on the other.

Both of these facilitate the development and flourishing of our international relations,” he added.

“This is not to say that we will not be challenged in international forums, like we saw in the scandalous UNESCO decisions, and it is likely that this will continue at the UN, but there is no doubt that even in international institutions, even in these scandalous votes, we have seen a change.”

A specific schedule for the travels of the prime minister and president has not yet been set.

Hana Levi Julian

Azerbaijan And Israel: Blueprint For Positive Jewish-Muslim Relations

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

There are noble and urgent reasons to roll up our sleeves and try very hard to address the dynamics between Jews and Muslims, in the most general and also most individualistic of terms.

We need to cover all bases so that we can make positive changes in the troubled relationship before it gets worse. We must look at practical alternatives to the festering status quo. It is our responsibility as stewards of this world.

Jewish awareness of the secular majority-Muslim nation of Azerbaijan has increased over the past few years. Azerbaijan has had an incomparable relationship with the Jewish people for centuries, and the country’s 30,000 Jewish citizens are treated with honor and respect, reflecting Azerbaijan’s humane traditions and its praiseworthy record as a haven for Jews through the Holocaust and into our day.

The friendship between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the State of Israel stands in sharp contrast to the geopolitical and sectarian tensions that plague so much of the world.

It’s no secret that Azerbaijan and Israel share a strategic alliance, with a particular emphasis on energy and defense technology. A telling example of the deep level of trust between the two countries is that Israeli citizens, per presidential decree, can have a visa issued at airports in Azerbaijan upon arrival, making Israel one of the few countries in the world with that kind of exemption.

Israel was one of the first nations to formally recognize the sovereign Republic of Azerbaijan in 1991, just a few months after it restored its independence from the Soviet Union. Israel was also one of the first countries to open an embassy in Azerbaijan.

Cooperation between the Jewish state and the majority-Muslim secular democracy has strengthened and expanded in recent years, not only in the realm of security but also and increasingly in the areas of energy, agriculture, telecommunications, cyber technology, construction, irrigation, medicine, and tourism. These connections started in the 1990s, and within a decade Israel had become Azerbaijan’s fifth-leading trade partner in the world.

Today, approximately 50 percent of the oil used in Israel comes from Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan continues to make multi-billion dollar investments in Israeli defense technologies.

The relationship goes beyond trade and is based on core values and plays out in social life and politics. I recall reading a statement made by Imam Malik, the head of one of Azerbaijan’s largest mosques, on the issue of Jews ascending the Temple Mount. He said “There is nothing in Islamic law to prevent Jews from ascending the Temple Mount and the one who claims otherwise is considered a heretic in Islam who transforms the sanctity of the place for political purposes.”

Imagine if the rest of the Muslim world thought about the Temple Mount, and a myriad of other related issues, in a similar way.

Critics note that Azerbaijan has yet to open an embassy in Israel, or they say that Azerbaijan’s location between Russia and Iran (along with its desire to maintain good neighborly relations with both of those regional powers) portends an unstable future for its relationship with Israel. However, regional experts and the hard evidence shine a different, and much more detailed, light on the story of the Azerbaijan-Israel friendship.

In 2009, Wikileaks revealed that the relationship has always been much closer than it appears. And Azerbaijan indeed faces immense pressure from the surrounding Muslim world. The country’s unique situation comes with definite risks and requires delicate management far beyond the scope of news coverage. These are factors that Israel, perhaps more than any other nation, can appreciate.

But the end game is unusually and refreshingly straightforward and promising. For the Republic of Azerbaijan, there is no reason not to collaborate with Israel, and there are plenty of immediate, long-term, and positive incentives that support the relationship. In the face of intense regional turmoil and dangerous threats to Israel and Jewish life around the globe, this friendship carries profound messages and meaning.

Just imagine what could happen if other majority-Muslim nations followed Azerbaijan’s direction, and success, when it comes to relations with Israel and the Jewish people.

Rabbi Simchah Aaron Green

Israel’s Iron Dome Sale to Azerbaijan May Balance Russian Ballistic Missile Sale to Armenia

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

An Armenian political analyst is questioning reports that Azerbaijan, an ally of Israel, is about to receive a delivery of Iron Dome batteries, having already negotiated a deal with the Jewish State for purchase of the anti-missile defense system.

Armenian political scientist and deputy director of the ‘Caucasus’ Institute, Sergey Minasyan, told the Armenian News Agency (Armenpress) on Tuesday (Oct. 4) that he held political and military doubts about the likelihood such a contract has been, or will be signed.

The comment came after an Azeri lawmaker announced in local media earlier in the day that Iron Dome batteries in Israel are ready for delivery to that Azerbaijan. The announcement came after the Russian-made Iskander short-range ballistic missiles made their debut in the Armenian Independence Day parade on September 21. The two populations have been warring for years over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The system has not yet been purchased, he maintained. Minasyan claimed that Azerbaijani media reports about the negotiations were exaggerated, due to a “psychological shock” resulting from the exhibition by Armenia of Iskander” mobile short-range ballistic missile system it recently purchased from Russia.

“It’s hard to imagine that Israel, possessing one of the world’s leading systems of that type, will provide it to a country that has started to strengthen its relations with Russia and Iran,” Minasyan told Armenpress.

Moreover, he said, “Azerbaijan will have to empty its pockets if it really wants to purchase it.” Minasyan went on to claim that Armenia’s recent purchase of the Iskander equals Azerbaijan’s acquisition of the Iron Dome in its cost-effectiveness ration.

However, “the costs Azerbaijan will have to invest in counter-balancing ‘Iskander’ will far exceed the costs of Armenia’s acquisition of ‘Iskander’ (from Russia),” he explained.

Minasyan claimed there is “no evidence” that the Iron Dome system is effective against the ‘Iskander’ missile ballistic missile, or against others, such as the ‘Tochka’ or against Scuds. “Iskander missiles have quasi-ballistic trajectory and other features against which, as American and Israeli experts note, there are no effective counter-measures,” he said. However, he was not specific about which “experts” made the statements.

Azerbaijan is the biggest supplier of oil to Israel, and one of its strongest allies in the region.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israels-iron-dome-sale-to-azerbaijan-may-balance-russian-ballistic-missile-sale-to-armenia/2016/10/04/

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