Israel Travel Guide
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Israel Foreign Relations
Israel maintains diplomatic relations with 161 countries and has 94 diplomatic missions around the world. Only three members of the Arab League have normalized relations with Israel; Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties in 1979 and 1994, respectively, and Mauritania opted for full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1999. Two other members of the Arab League, Morocco and Tunisia, which had some diplomatic relations with Israel, severed them at the start of the Second Intifada in 2000. Since 2003, ties with Morocco have been improved, and Israel's foreign minister has visited the country.
As a result of the 2009 Gaza War, Mauritania, Qatar, Bolivia, and Venezuela suspended political and economical ties with Israel. Under Israeli law, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen are enemy countries and Israeli citizens may not visit them without permission from the Ministry of the Interior. Since 1995, Israel has been a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue, which fosters cooperation between seven countries in the Mediterranean Basin and the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Foreign relations with United States, Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom and India are among Israel's strongest. The United States was the first country to recognize the State of Israel, followed by the Soviet Union. The United States may regard Israel as its primary ally in the Middle East, based on "common democratic values, religious affinities, and security interests". Their bilateral relations are multidimensional and the United States is the principal proponent of the Arab-Israeli peace process. U.S. and Israeli views differ on some issues, such as the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and settlements.
India established full diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992 and has fostered a strong military and cultural partnership with the country since then. One study revealed that India was the most pro-Israel nation in the world followed by the United States. Germany's strong ties with Israel include cooperation on scientific and educational endeavors and the two states remain strong economic and military partners. The UK has kept full diplomatic relations with Israel since its formation having had two visits from heads of state in 2007. Relations between the two countries were also made stronger by former prime minister Tony Blair's efforts for a two state resolution. The UK is seen as having a "natural" relationship with Israel on account of the British Mandate of Palestine. Iran had diplomatic relations with Israel under the Pahlavi dynasty but withdrew its recognition of Israel during the Iranian Revolution.
Although Turkey and Israel did not establish full diplomatic relations until 1991, Turkey has cooperated with the State since its recognition of Israel in 1949. Turkey's ties to the other Muslim-majority nations in the region have at times resulted in pressure from Arab states to temper its relationship with Israel. Relations between Turkey and Israel took a downturn, however, after the former's condemnation of Israel after the 2009 Gaza War.
In Africa, Ethiopia is Israel's main and closest ally in the continent due to common political , religious and security interests. Many towns in Ethiopia are named after biblical Israel settlements, including Ethiopia's third largest city of Nazret Adama. Israel also provides expertise to Ethiopia on irrigation projects. Thousands of Ethiopian Jews live in Israel.
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