Kosovo Forges Ties With Israel, Recognizes Jerusalem as Capital

Unique diplomatic ceremony via Zoom punctuated by overtly warm remarks by both sides

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Jerusalem, Kosovo
Photo: Facebook screenshot

The Republic of Kosovo on Monday became the latest Muslim-majority country (though it is emphatically a secular democracy) to establish diplomatic relations with the State of Israel. But Kosovo went even further than the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan in that it also officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In a diplomatic ceremony that took place via Zoom due to the coronavirus crisis, Israel Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said he had already approved Kosovo’s request to open an embassy in Jerusalem.

“There is a paradigm shift in the Muslim world’s relations with Israel,” noted Ashkenazi. “This morning I received your formal request…to open an embassy in Jerusalem, which of course I approved.”

The Israeli foreign minister went on to single out his counterpart, Kosovo Foreign Minister Meliza Haradinaj, for her outspoken support of Israel and the Jewish people last week on International Holocaust Memorial Day. In her official capacity, Haradinaj adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, which among other things defines anti-Israel activity as antisemitic.

Ashkenazi also thanked the United States for its dedicated work in recent years to advance Israel’s quest for peace with its neighbors and other nations with which it didn’t previously enjoy diplomatic relations.

For her part, Haradinaj described this day a “golden page in the history of our peoples.” She highlighted the warm relations between the peoples of both countries going back decades, demonstrated most poignantly when Israelis hosted families fleeing the Kosovo war in 1999 and during World War II, when a great many Jews were helped in escaping the Nazi death machine by the people of Kosovo.

Haradinaj went on to “enthusiastically” invite Israeli companies to do business in Kosovo and concluded with “God bless the people of Kosovo and its friends, the United States of America and the State of Israel.”

A recording of the full ceremony can be watched below. Proceedings begin around the 9 minute mark.

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