New Beginning of Armenia-Israel Relations
The most important event of last week was the visit of Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to Israel. Though the Armenian-Israeli relations can be said to have a millennium history, the first references to it are dated back to the 9th century BC. From the first century, however, the establishment of relations between the newly independent Armenia and Israel has gone through a rather difficult phase. As a result, there is no high level of bilateral relations so far, there are no embassies, very poor trade-economic relations and so on.
In spite of the truth, it is worth mentioning that in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem, there has always been a small, but rather powerful Armenian community, which, in its own right, has manifested its presence in that country. As it is known, the Christian part of Jerusalem is divided into three districts, one of which is Armenian. The Armenian Apostolic Church also shares the main sanctuaries of Jerusalem with the Greek Orthodox and Franciscan (Catholic) churches.
The Armenian Apostolic Church is the most influential religious institution in Jerusalem and has its exceptional role in the Christian world, representing other Christian churches in the Holy Land, particularly Coptic, Assyrian, and Ethiopian Christian churches. Such quality of relations and influence has been created in that country for hundreds of years by the ruling Empires and kingdoms in Jerusalem for the benefit of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
Nevertheless, despite such historical past, Armenia-Israel relations have not noticed the high level of relations and this fact was conditioned by the interest of Edward Nalbandian's visit not only in Armenia but also in Israel. It is no coincidence that Nalbandian met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This once again emphasizes the great interest of Israel in the Armenian delegation.
Two problematic points of the Armenian-Israeli meetings are the supply of weapons to Azerbaijan by Israel and Armenia-Iran good-neighborly relations. However, if the Armenian side has always stressed that the quality of relations with Iran will never affect the construction of high-level relations with Israel, the supply of arms by Israel to Azerbaijan is really problematic and it should become a topic of discussion of bilateral relations. This issue is especially important when it comes to the appearance of Israeli aerial vehicles on the line of contact, especially in the local media, when information was sent to the Israeli specialists by the Azeris to urge them to use the weapon against the Armenian troops on the frontline.
The meetings are a hope that a dialogue has been started, which will be continuous between the two countries and the sides will be able to come up with a common declaration on particularly problematic issues. It is important that the Armenian side be able to bring the Israeli government's concern over the supply of weapons to Azerbaijan by the official Yerevan.
Armen Manvelyan, Candidate of Historical Sciences
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