Foreign relations of Israel

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Israel has diplomatic relations with 163 of the 193 UN member states as of December 2018.[1] Israel maintains full diplomatic relations and open borders with two of its Arab neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, after signing peace treaties in 1979 and 1994 respectively. Thirty UN member states do not recognize Israel. These include 17 of the 22 members of the Arab League: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. A further 9 are members of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Niger and Pakistan. Other countries which do not recognise Israel include Bhutan, Cuba and North Korea.[2] Israel is a member of a number of United Nations and other international organisations.

The close friendship with the United States has also been a linchpin of Israeli foreign policy for decades. From the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 until the Iranian Revolution and the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, Israel and Iran maintained close ties. Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation after Turkey.[3][4] In the mid-20th century, Israel ran extensive foreign aid and educational programs in Africa, sending experts in agriculture, water management and health care.[5] China is one of the few countries in the world to concurrently maintain warm relations with both Israel and the Muslim world at large,[6] and remains as a linchpin in Israel's foreign policy due to its global influence which integrates with Israel's pragmatic economic management, political stability, as well as its regional strategic importance in the Middle East.[7][8][9]

During the 2000s, the foreign ministry warned that the increasing influence of the EU would further isolate Israel in global affairs.[10][11] In the wake of a series of diplomatic rifts with Turkey and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 2011, Israel had increasingly unfriendly relations with those countries for a few years before things improved.[12] During roughly the same period, Israeli relations with many countries in Europe including Greece and Cyprus in the context of the Energy Triangle and in Asia, including China and India, were enhanced, largely on account of the growth of Israel's high-tech economy.[13] Israeli ties with Egypt have improved since the Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power there, while ties to Turkey have been uneven since their 2010 nadir but less dismal than that point.

Membership in international organizations

Israeli flag at the United Nations building in New York

The first international organization which the Israeli government joined was the International Wheat Council, established as part of Point Four Program in early 1949. Israel has been a member of the United Nations since 11 May 1949.

Israel is a member of many UN agencies, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Israel also participates in other international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).[14]

Within the UNESCO, Israel is a member in many international programs and organizations. In the area of science, Israel is an active member of the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the International Centre for Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science Applications in the Middle East (SESAME), and the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP). Other notable organizations Israel is an active member of include the Education For All movement, the European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES), the World Heritage Committee (WHC), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).[15] Relations are carried out through the Israeli National Commission for UNESCO.[16]

Israel joined the European Union's Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development (FP) in 1994,[17] and is a member of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN),[18] the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL).[19] It is also a member of the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) since 2003.[20]

On 10 May 2010, Israel was invited to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).[21] Israel is a member of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue forum.[22] In 2014 Israel joined the Paris Club.[23]