Photo Credit: Haim Zach / GPO
Israeli President Isaac Herzog meets with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erodgan in Ankara on March 9, 2022

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will visit Turkey’s capital city, Ankara, this coming Thursday, according to Israel media.

Lapid will reportedly meet with his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, to discuss cooperation on efforts to thwart Iranian terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens visiting the country.
Last month Cavusoglu visited Jerusalem in a gesture intended to signal a slow warming of ties.

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The news of Lapid’s visit follows by a few hours a telephone conversation between Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The two men discussed the recently publicized intentions to perpetrate terror attacks against Israelis present in Istanbul.

Herzog thanked Erdoğan for his country’s efforts to thwart terrorist activities on Turkish soil.

In their conversation, the two leaders “highlighted the great contribution of this cooperation to the trust being built between the governments and nations,” the president’s office said in a statement.

But President Herzog also emphasized that the threat has not yet passed and that the counterterror efforts must continue.

The two leaders agreed to “continue working for peace and stability in the region by means of open and ongoing dialogue,” the president’s office added.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett likewise emphasized the continued threat to Israelis abroad in his opening statement to the weekly cabinet meeting.

“We are currently witnessing Iranian attempts to attack Israelis in various overseas locations,” Bennett said.

“The security services of the State of Israel are working to thwart attempted attacks before they are launched. We will continue to strike those who send the terrorists and those who send those who send them. Our new rule is: Whoever sends – pays.

“Alongside this, we have warned Israeli citizens to avoid flying to Turkey – especially Istanbul – at this time if it is not necessary. The danger is still great,” Bennett noted, adding that he is calling on Israeli citizens to show “personal responsibility and safeguard their security.”

As serious as the threat to Israelis remains throughout Turkey – and particularly in Istanbul – Israeli officials are now warning citizens to also cancel their plans to visit the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt for similar reasons, Hebrew-language media reported Sunday night.

Unnamed Israeli security personnel were quoted by Channel 13 News and Galei Tzahal Army Radio as saying while the threat is not “concrete” in these additional destinations, Tehran could become “desperate” to commit an attack and expand its operations towards that end.

“I would recommend Israelis not go there and if they do go there, they should take extra care,” a diplomatic source allegedly said.

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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 Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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