Western Europe is Israel's most natural trading partner. The establishment of a free trade zone (1975) with the European Community (EC) led to a significant increase in exports to Europe.


  • Western Europe


    Western Europe is Israel's most natural trading partner. The establishment of a free trade zone (1975) with the European Community (EC) led to a significant increase in exports to Europe, and an even greater increase in EC exports to Israel. This growth in trade has been accelerated by the development of close business connections between entrepreneurs and investors and the setting up of joint ventures, as well as by efforts to strengthen economic ties with the member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

    The Israel-European Union (EU) Association Agreement, signed in 1995, came into force in June 2000, allowing for heightened political dialogue, as well as closer economic relations. In the mid-1990s, Israel joined the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the EU.

    In December 2004, the Action Plan under the European Neighborhood Policy was concluded between Israel and the European Union. In November 2007, the EU-Israel Business Dialogue was established with the aim of promoting understanding and cooperation between the private sectors of the parties. In June 2008 the European Union announced an upgrade in its relations with Israel.

    Along with the United States, Russia, and the United Nations, the European Union is a member of the “Quartet” which seeks to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict through the peace process.

    Israel PM Netanyahu and German Chancellor Merkel
    at joint Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem (Photo: GPO)

  • Central Europe and Euro-Asia


    Relations between Israel and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which were renewed as soon as these countries restored their democracies, are becoming increasingly close, especially in economic matters, culture, tourism, and international cooperation activities. Economic agreements with these countries are of importance, given that many of them are members of the European Union or candidates for future membership.

    As these countries had been the center of world Jewry before World War II, the memory of the Holocaust is a significant factor in relations with them. Issues being dealt with include restoration of nationalized Jewish public and private property to their owners or legal heirs, recognition of the 'Righteous among the Nations' who risked their lives to save Jews during the Nazi era, and cooperation with the governments of the region to combat manifestations of antisemitism.

    Israel's relations with the Eurasian states (former Soviet Union) have gained momentum, particularly in the political, economic and cultural realms. Official visits and new agreements have laid a solid foundation for expanding these relations. Trade and investment ties are showing impressive growth. More than a million former Soviet citizens now living in Israel form a human bridge between Israel and their countries of origin, adding a special dimension to the relations.

    Israel's ties with the Russian Federation are of strategic importance given its active involvement in the diplomatic process in the Middle East (as a member of the Quartet) and in the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

    Israel continues to enhance its relations with Central Asian Caucasus states, where there is great demand for Israeli MASHAV aid in the fields of public health, advanced agriculture, water resource management and the fight against desertification. Other important issues are the preservation of Jewish heritage in the Eurasian states, perpetuation of the memory of the Holocaust and the fight against antisemitism.