Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Feb. 5 2019

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no bones about the role of the Jewish State as the first line of defense against terror aimed at Europe, during joint statements to the media on Tuesday (Feb. 5) in Jerusalem with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen.

During a meeting between the two leaders, a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding was signed on continued cooperation in science, culture and education, as was a declaration of intent on future international cooperation regarding assistance to third world countries.


“We want to commend you and Chancellor Kurz for the very strong statement and very strong position you’ve taken on the truth, on history, on anti-Semitism,” Netanyahu said. “The President of Austria and the Chancellor of Austria, I think, have been exemplary in putting out a simple truth – that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are one.

“Under the presidency of Austria in the European Union, there was a call for countries to sign the declaration, adopt a declaration of anti-Semitism, adopted by IHRA. This is very much, we believe, commensurate with the truth and with morality. We have followed consistently your positions and the way that you put them forward, we appreciate it very much.

“We have a lot in common with Austria, because we are both small democracies eager to seize the future. We face, obviously, great challenges, and also great opportunities. We both spend a very large proportion of our GDP on R&D, and that reflects our belief in innovation.

“We’re going to discuss this today: Innovation, cyber security, all the areas of technology that are performing wonders in changing our world. We’re going to sign an agreement on culture and science, which we could do even more with each other. We both have advanced societies with very capable people, and the more we exchange with each other the better we’ll do for each of our countries.

“The greatest challenge that we face is undoubtedly from radicalism and fanaticism that seeks to bring the world back to medieval ages.

“Here in the Middle East we face the two forces, the great forces of militant Islam: The militant Sunnis led by Da’esh and militant Shi’ites led by Iran and its proxies.

“We are committed to blocking their advance and in so doing, we are defending not only ourselves, but in many ways, defending Europe.

“Israel is the great fortress, here at the edge of Asia, at the edge of the Mediterranean, that is preventing the forces of militant Islam from sweeping the region and sending millions and millions and millions of people into homeless wandering throughout the continents, especially the continent of Europe.

“The best way to deal with this is to deal with it here, to defeat these forces here. And Israel is doing more than its fair share in that regard.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.