PM Netanyahu and PM Zoran Zaev of Macedonia. (Haim Zach/ GPO) (Haim Zach/ GPO)
Netanyahu Zaev Macedonia

Israel and Macedonia celebrated their blossoming diplomatic ties. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Monday in Jerusalem with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, who arrived on one of his first trips abroad as head of state. During the meeting the delegations discussed deepening economic and political cooperation between Israel and Macedonia, especially in the fields of energy, agriculture, start-ups and technology.

Zaev and the Macedonian delegation met on Sunday with President Reuven Rivlin and the business community in Israel and visited high-tech startups and accelerators.

Macedonia invited Netanyahu for an official visit to their country.

‘A Great Moment in Our Relations’

Netanyahu called the event “a great moment in our relations.”

Netanyahu underscored the close relations between the two countries, expressed most recently when we Israel sent firefighting planes to help extinguish forest fires ravaging the country.

“So we are friends in good weather, in bad weather, in stormy days, rainy days and days of fire,” Netanyahu stated.

Netanyahu expressed eagerness to “cooperate for the betterment of our peoples and our countries.”

He also thanked Macedonia for standing up for Israel in international forums. “We appreciate it and hope we’ll continue to do so,” the Israeli premier said.

Zaev defined his country’s relationship with the Jewish state as very friendly.

“We don’t have open issues, open questions, we are a very friendly country and we are very happy because we are here in Israel,” he said.

He expressed hope of cooperating with Israel in two spheres, the first being cooperation for “the security and for world peace…because that threat of the radicalism and extremism is really present here in this region against Israel, but also against my small country Macedonia, and the whole region in the western part of the Balkans.”

The second sphere related to learning from Israel’s famed hi-tech industry.

He also emphasized Macedonia’s respect for the cultural heritage of the Jewish people in his country.

“We remember the victims of the Holocaust, with a message to never be repeated. In 2011 the memorial center for the Holocaust of the Jews of Macedonia was opened, and since 2015 we work actively on fully repairing and rehabilitating the Jewish cemetery in Bitola and the construction of a memorial park. That is something I want to stress here, especially because that is the honest approach from my citizens to the friendly citizens of Israel,” he stated.

Netanyahu responded by stating that “these are important projects commemorating the past, and without the past we have no future, we learn from the past to secure the future.”

By: United with Israel Staff