Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week personally hosted a delegation of senior journalists from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation.
Official relations between Israel and Indonesia are cold, at best, though the two nations have long maintained quiet trade, tourism and security contacts.
Netanyahu hopes this visit will encourage warmer, more open relations.
“The time has come for official relations between Indonesia and Israel,” the Israeli leader said. “We have many opportunities to cooperate in the fields of water and technology. Israel has excellent relations with many countries in Asia, especially China, Japan, India and Vietnam.”
Netanyahu continued by noting that, just as with many Arab states, “we are in fact allies in the fight against radical Islam. Relations between Israel and Indonesia have to change. I have more than a few Indonesian followers on Facebook. It is time for a change. The reasons which have prevented these are no longer relevant and I hope that your visit will help .”