Another Muslim Nation Befriends Israel

“An important milestone in the development of relations between Israel and Azerbaijan”

By Rachel Avraham | | Topics: Azerbaijan

March 30, 2022 was the official inauguration of Azerbaijan’s Tourism Office in the State of Israel. At the opening ceremony on the Tel Aviv seafront, Jamilya Talibzadeh, Azerbaijan’s Tourism Attaché stated: “We are very pleased that you are sharing this day with us. From now on, we have a part of Azerbaijan in Tel Aviv. Feel free to come around to know more about Azerbaijani culture and our potential for tourism. We hope that this is a starting point for your travel to Azerbaijan.”

The Chairman of the State Tourism Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Fuad Nagiyev stated: “The opening of the Tourism Office of Azerbaijan in Israel is a very important development. We believe that it will work to strengthen the bilateral ties and increase the tourism potential between our countries. The building will act as a small showroom of Azerbaijan where you can feel the Azerbaijani spirit and explore new information about Azerbaijan. We would like to invite all of you to Azerbaijan to experience and to take another look at its tourism potential.”

“We consider the development of a tourism relationship with Israel as a priority,” he added. “Friendly bilateral ties between Azerbaijan and Israel have developed here as a historic fact. There are cultural connections, friendships and a spirit of understanding with the establishment of these ties. Azerbaijan is a tolerant and multicultural country, where numerous ethnic groups live in peace and harmony. Azerbaijanis and Jews have lived together for centuries, upholding the same values. It is not inconsequential that the only population densely populated by Mountain Jews is in the Red Village of Guba. Jewish populations can also be found in other regions of Azerbaijan.”

According to Nagiyev, “We do various activities to preserve the Jewish heritage in Azerbaijan. We have prepared a Jewish Heritage in Azerbaijan Tourism Board. It is well known that Azerbaijan is home to a large Jewish community. We will always play a strong role for tourism foundations between both countries. I am confident that the Tourism Office will provide the opportunity to increase mutual friendship between Azerbaijani and Jewish people, and will contribute towards the tourism exchange.”

Israeli Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov also spoke at the event, saying: “It is an honor to welcome you on the historic occasion of the opening of the Azerbaijan Tourism Office in Israel. Last night, we were all shocked by the inhuman Palestinian terror attack that took the lives of five innocent Israelis. It happened a day after the historic peace signing in the Negev by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yair Lapid. A group of extremists want to interrupt our coexistence with our neighbors, but we will not let them. The State of Israel and the people of Israel are strong and won’t give up. Tourism is a real bridge for peace and that is exactly what we are doing today by opening this beautiful tourism office of Azerbaijan in Israel. The opening of the Tourism Office is an important milestone on the way to opening an official embassy for the Republic of Azerbaijan in Israel.”

According to Razvozov, “Our relations with Azerbaijan are based on a strong friendship, trust and mutual respect. The Jewish community of Azerbaijan has always peacefully coexisted. Pretty soon, we will celebrate thirty years since the establishment of our diplomatic relations. I want to thank President Aliyev for his important contribution in strengthening our relationship. I will also like to thank Mr. Nagiv for strengthening the tourism connection between our countries. In 2019, almost 50,000 Israelis visited Azerbaijan. I am sure that by joining hands, we can double the numbers from both sides. Now that we have removed almost all restrictions in incoming tourism, I call upon Azerbaijani people to come and visit Israel. Ms. Talibzadeh, I wish you luck on your important mission. My ministry always has an open door for you.” After these remarks, they cut the ribbon, signed some official documents and officially opened the Tourism Office of Azerbaijan in Israel.

Later on, there was a large celebration for the official opening of the Tourism Office at the Sheraton Hotel, complete with the playing of the Azerbaijani and Israeli national anthems, speeches, music, an elaborate display of Azerbaijani food and alcohol. Razvozov and Nagiyev both attended. At the Sheraton, Nagiyev officially condemned the series of terror attacks in Israel, comparing it to what they experienced in Ganja during the course of their conflict with the Armenians.

In a press release sent out after the grand opening, Florian Sengstschmid, Chief Executive Officer of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, said: ” We are delighted to announce the opening of our new representative office in Tel Aviv. This office will serve to establish fruitful collaborations with our Israeli counterparts while increasing awareness about Azerbaijan among Israelis, maintaining day-to-day management and administration related to tourism promotion along with detailed market research and bring Azerbaijan and Israel even closer.”

Azerbaijan’s Tourism Office will be working with all of the major travel agents, tour operators, and airlines that are currently resuming their direct 3-hour flights to Baku. Azerbaijan’s Tourism Office seeks to increase the number of Israelis visiting Azerbaijan through participation at different trade shows, cooperation with online platforms and now the opening of this brand-new office on the Tel Aviv coastline, which inside has a gigantic map of Azerbaijan on the wall alongside displaying the Azerbaijani and Israeli flags.

Azerbaijan welcomes guests from Israel, who are attracted by the beauty, culture, traditions, the people and hospitality in the country. Azerbaijan has three different types of Jewish communities: Mountain Jews, Ashkenazi and Georgian Jews. The Museum of Mountain Jews operates in Guba, otherwise known as Red Village, which shines light on this one-of-a-kind community, their traditions and culture, keeping it safe for generations to come. The Red Village also has a number of historic synagogues with ornate Azerbaijani carpets and a fully operational mikvah bath. Many ruins of ancient synagogues have been found in diverse parts of the country.

Today, it is possible to walk in main streets of Baku and enjoy fascinating Jewish synagogues, learn about well-known Jews of Azerbaijan and their contribution to the socio-economic development of the country. Jewish walking tours will take you through the key sites of Jewish heritage in Baku while uncovering the stories of exceptional people and historic events. During the tour, participants visit the synagogue of Mountain Jews, the synagogue of Ashkenazi and Georgian Jews, the memorial board of Nobel prize laureate Lev Landau born in Baku, as well as Chabad-or-Avner Education Complex that offers secondary education to Jewish students.

Straddling two continents where East meets West, Azerbaijan offers a rare and vibrant mix of culture, architecture and culinary heritage. Add in the warm climate and diverse natural landscapes – from mountains, volcanoes and gorges to waterfalls, forests and sandy beaches along the Caspian Sea – Azerbaijan has all the ingredients for a wonderful vacation. Whether you have been to Azerbaijan before or are a first-time visitor, the country has something for everyone. Azerbaijan accepts any Israeli tourists who do a PCR test before their flight and have a valid vaccination certificate from their country of origin. Azerbaijan has always eased the mask mandates a bit, making the experience thus that much more enjoyable.

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