Several hundred guests gathered at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv Wednesday night to celebrate the opening of the Azerbaijani Embassy in Israel. It was attended by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan George Deek, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Israel Mukhtar Mammadov, and many other ambassadors and other dignitaries.
Minister Bayramov proclaimed at the event: “This is a great occasion that we celebrate together. In the long history of relations between our countries, we stress the importance of this event. There are so many parallels between Israel and Azerbaijan. Both countries sit at the historical crossroads between regions and civilizations. Both nations live in the modern era rooted in our ancient culture and traditions. Israel was among the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence. The bilateral relations that started in 1992 have expanded since. We are very grateful that for the last 30 years, Israel has firmly supported Azerbaijan’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security.”
According to Bayramov, “Last year, our relations gained new momentum with the decision to establish the embassy of Azerbaijan. Today, we are officially opening the embassy. Its establishment will further strengthen the existing strategic relations between our two countries. Our compatriots here in Israel played an active role over the past three decades. The Azerbaijani Diaspora in Israel, which consists mainly of Jews, played an important role in the development of our bilateral relations. While last year we celebrated the 30th year of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Israel, the onset of our relations dates back centuries.”
Foreign Minister Cohen proclaimed: “We celebrate a historic event today.” He noted Israelis were united in supporting Azerbaijan’s opening its embassy in Tel Aviv. “It is exciting to see many people here putting on their clothes the Azerbaijani and the Israeli flag. It’s powerful and speaks of the history connecting both our countries and the good friendship between us.”
According to Cohen, “The decision to open the embassy reflects the depth and the strategic relations between our two countries over the past 30 years. On behalf of the Israeli government and the Israeli people, I would like to thank Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for making the important decision to open the embassy. We are pleased to welcome Ambassador Mukhtar Mammadov as the representative of Azerbaijan to Israel. Together, we built a great bridge that will further strengthen our relations.
“Azerbaijan is a strategic partner of Israel on a wide range of issues including regional security, energy, tourism, etc. Azerbaijanis and Israelis find a common language. For many years, there has been a large Jewish community in Azerbaijan, which enjoys the freedom of religion. We thank the Azerbaijani people for all of their kindness.”
Saadat Sukurova Israelov, head of Kanal 24, an Israeli-Azerbaijani news channel that operates in four languages, told me: “We waited a while for this to happen. We will be an example to all the nations. A Shia Muslim country has now opened up an embassy in Tel Aviv and become a friend of Israel. Now, the Azerbaijanis in Israel has an embassy. Now, the Jews and Muslims of Azerbaijan are friends and they are stronger together.”