The first-ever designated Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Israel, Mukhtar Mammadov, who arrived last week hit the headlines with strategic cooperation being the major topic as both countries face the same threat – Iran.
One of the first persons who Mammadov met after his arrival in Israel was Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. During their meeting in Jerusalem, they discussed the importance Baku sees in its connection with the Jewish world.
This follows a meeting two weeks before, which Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev held with the President of the Conference of European Rabbis, Pinchas Goldschmidt, in Munich.
They discussed, not only the rapid development of relations between Baku and Jerusalem, but also strengthening relations with European Jewish communities. Aliyev, who has become the target of Iranian propaganda, which calls him “Rabbi Ilham Alef” and “Zionist”, emphasized to Goldschmidt that warm relations with the Jewish people is part of “the Azerbaijani way of life.”
Less than three weeks before that on January 27, International Holocaust Day, Rabbi Avichai Apel, President of the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany and European Rabbinical Conference Vice President, addressed European Commission leaders in Strasbourg, dedicating part of his speech to Azerbaijan, calling the EU to support it: “This country, which for centuries has warmly embraced the Jews, is located on the front line opposite Iran, and maintains brotherly relations between its Azeri and Jewish citizens without any antisemitic incidents. However, this Muslim country, which embraces and opens its heart to the Jews, and has even established an embassy in Israel, does not receive the proper backing from countries in the EU.”
Thus, the meeting between the Azeri ambassador and Hoenlein is not an isolated instance, it is a part of the wide policy of the Azerbaijan leadership in engaging Israel and the Jewish people.
Hoenlein said after his meeting with the new Azerbaijan Ambassador to Israel Mammadov, that he was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the multifaceted, growing relationship between the two countries. “Based on our broad-ranging dialogue, I am certain the ambassador will enhance and expand the significant economic, strategic and security relations, as well as people to people exchanges. The ambassador reflects the long-standing commitments of Azerbaijan President Aliyev, with whom I have had the privilege of having long, productive and close ties,” asserted Hoenlein.