“Relations Between Israel and Austria Have Never Been So Good”

“This should not be taken for granted given our historical responsibility.”

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: Austria
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) meets with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, in Jerusalem on March 30, 2022.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) meets with his Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, in Jerusalem on March 30, 2022. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Austrian Chancellor Carl Neymar is expected to visit Israel soon, during which time he will sign an agreement for a strategic partnership with Jerusalem. This was announced by Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg at a meeting with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

At the beginning of the meeting, Schallenberg addressed the recent terrorist attacks in Israel, saying: “Please send our condolences to the families of the victims of this shocking attack. Terrorism is once again showing its ugly face and I want you and the citizens of Israel to know that Austria stands by Israel and Austria is a partner in your struggle. You said that a strong and secure Israel is the best guarantee and I agree with that. It is part of our policy to be your partners in this and we want to see Israel strong and secure.”

Schallenberg added: “Relations between Austria and Israel have never been so good since 1948. This should not be taken for granted given our historical responsibility. We want to strengthen relations and we look forward to the Austrian Chancellor’s visit where we will sign a strategic partnership agreement. We have started discussing the region, the potential for cooperation in energy, culture, science and there are so many areas in which we have a common interest.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid: “Our best weapon against terrorism is the unity of the State of Israel and its citizens. What the terrorists are trying to destroy is the power of a strong and proud, law-abiding country, where the security forces get full backing and the necessary calm that enables them to act against terrorism. The purpose of terrorism is not only to murder innocents but also to make us hate and be angry with each other. To undermine and dismantle Israeli society from within. To initiate an exchange of accusations that will lead to violence. The terrorists want to see violent riots on Israel’s streets. Manifestations of incitement and hatred do not strengthen confidence. They only create fear and paralysis and burden the security forces even more. We will not let the terrorists determine our policy, and we will not let the terrorists tear us up from within.”

Speaking directly to FM Schallenberg, FM Lapid added: “This meeting with you, like the meeting in the Negev earlier this week with the US Secretary of State and the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, the Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain, is the best answer to terrorism. Peace and friendship are the alternatives to terror and chaos. We choose peace from a position of power. It is a choice of the strong. The last time we met, it was at the Mauthausen concentration camp. I was talking about my grandfather, who perished in the camp, and you cried and hugged me. The existence of the State of Israel, strong and confident, is the guarantee that there will no longer be a Mauthausen. A guarantee that terrorism will not win. Your commitment to our friendship strengthens us in difficult times.”

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