What are the ties that unite Spain and Israel? – opinion – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on December 12, 2020

Last January, a few days after being appointed minister, I had the honor of accompanying His Majesty King Philip VI to the World Holocaust Forum on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration and extermination camp that we also visited a few days later.I return now, a few days before the end of the year, to talk to our Israeli friends with the warmth and frankness that characterizes our relations. Our two countries have gone through difficult times in these months of pandemic: we have regretted human losses and we have had to restrict our movements despite the fact that both Israelis and Spaniards have in common a vibrant, innovative and cosmopolitan character.In these months, we have also rediscovered the value of neighborhood and of being members of the same region, as countries at both ends of the Mediterranean. For this reason, I launched a meeting in Barcelona with my colleagues from the European Union and our partners from the Southern Neighborhood, in which Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi participated. Israel can count on the commitment and support of Spain in developing a privileged and special relationship with the EU. In this regard, I hope that we will soon be able to hold the EU-Israel Association Council to renew our shared future agenda. During my visit, I also hope to discuss how we can bring our bilateral relations closer to a potential that has not yet been explored. Spain considers Israel a particularly qualified partner, as a recognized center for research and development, entrepreneurship and economic exchange. The future of our bilateral relations hinges on the development of technological cooperation in sectors such as telecommunications, biotechnology, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, as well as the treatment and management of water, the environment, infrastructure and renewable energy.We will also have the opportunity to discuss how to bring closer our universities, our scientific and research centers and our think tanks. In Spain, we are very proud of our rich and complex Jewish past and the invaluable contribution that the Jewish community makes to our country. That is why I am happy that the new-established Ladino Academy will start working for this extraordinary example of common intangible heritage. Next year we will celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the birth in the city of Malaga of Shlomo Ibn Gvirol, one of the great sages of Torah, literature and Jewish thought in medieval times. Sefarad is indeed part of the Spanish identity and we take great care of the unique Red de Juderas (Network of Jewish Quarters) in so many Spanish cities and towns. Since 2006, Centro Sefarad-Israel, a Spanish public diplomacy institute, has been exclusively dedicated to increasing the awareness of these ties with the Jewish world and with Israel.The aforesaid institution, together with the government of Spain, works to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive and collaborates with Yad Vashem to train Spanish educators to teach about the Holocaust and the fight against antisemitism. Spain has pioneering criminal legislation against antisemitism and hate crimes and, last July, adopted the operational definition of the International Holocaust Memory Alliance.

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What are the ties that unite Spain and Israel? - opinion - The Jerusalem Post

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