In a delegation headed by B’nai B’rith International and the B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem, members of the European Parliament are set to visit Israel to strengthen EU-Israel ties, building on recent breakthroughs in the relationship and exposing the MEPs to realities in the country and the region, ahead of the formation of a new government.
The visit takes place on the heels of the recent EU-Israel Association Council that convened in Brussels in October for the first time after 10 years and the visits to Israel by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, earlier this year—outspoken supporters of increased cooperation between the two strategic partners.
The group is set to meet with members of the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset), officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Agency for International Development Cooperation, top officers in the IDF and representatives of Israel’s Innovation Authority, as well as European diplomats resident in Israel. Representatives of the United Arab Emirates and Morocco and Bahrain are also set to meet the members—an increased sign of the growing cooperation and ties that the Abraham Accords brought about.
The group will visit Yad Vashem–the World Holocaust Remembrance Center to pay tribute to the six million Jews killed in the Shoah and explore effective ways to address rampant contemporary Holocaust denial and distortion. They will also tour the Old City of Jerusalem, visit the soon-to-be-opened Museum of the Jewish Solider in World War II, experience the Jewish-Arab school in Jaffa and meet with representatives of the Tel Aviv municipality. The mission will conclude with a visit to the Israeli Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center and participation in MUNI EXPO 2022, a platform for promoting municipal and global sustainability with the participation of 200 foreign guests, among them 70 mayors.
MEPs will have a chance to deepen their knowledge about Arab-Jewish relations, religious pluralism, ethnic diversity and coexistence in Israel’s vibrant civil society. Regional security, the threat posed by Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, Europe’s engagement with the Iranian nuclear deal, prospects brought about by the Abraham Accords and the fight against rising anti-Semitism in Europe will be among the topics discussed. Israel’s policy toward Russia’s war against Ukraine, Iranian weapons transfers to Moscow and its implications for Europe’s relation with Tehran, and partnership avenues to ease energy and food chain disruptions will top the delegation’s packed agenda.
Co-chair of the soon-to-be-launched Abraham Accords Network in the European Parliament, Swedish MEP David Lega; Latvian MEP and former Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the national Parliament Inese Vaidere; Spanish-Venezuelan MEP Leopoldo López Gil, father of prisoner of conscience and Sakharov Prize winner Leopoldo López Mendoza; Slovenian MEP Romana Tomc and Croatian MEP Karlo Ressler will be part of the delegation, along with advisers of fellow colleagues, B’nai B’rith team members and lay leaders.