Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has expressed his country’s great desire to establish diplomatic relations with Indonesia.
Lapid said that Israel hopes to build normalisation agreements with a number of other Muslim-majority countries such as Indonesia and Saudi Arabia after successfully reconciling with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco in 2020, assisted by the United States.
Lapid said Israel is seeking ways to “expand the Abrahamic Agreement to other countries” beyond the countries it established relations with in 2020.
“If you ask me what important countries we are targeting, Indonesia is one of them. Saudi Arabia of course too, but these things take time,” Lapid said during an interview with Israeli Army Radio on Tuesday 25th January, as quoted by Reuters.
Lapid also said Israel is exploring efforts to normalise relations with a number of other countries which are targeted to be agreed upon in the next two years. Currently, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia do not have diplomatic relations with Israel as a form of solidarity with Palestine.
In recent years, rumors of normalising relations between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia have continued to strengthen.
The US envoy reportedly met the Saudi Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in 2021 and then discussed normalisation efforts with Israel. The issue of normalisation with Israel was also discussed by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, when he met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta in December 2021.
Recently, Israeli media revealed that a series of secret meetings of Israeli and Indonesian officials were continuing to strengthen cooperation between the two countries, especially in the agricultural sector.
Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is even said to be one of the Indonesian officials who is strongly encouraging the normalisation of relations with Israel, although this was ultimately denied by his spokesman.
A delegation of Indonesian officials was also reported to have visited Israel in January to discuss strategies for handling the coronavirus.