Analysis

Splitting the EU: Israel’s Tightening Alliance With Central Europe’s Nationalist Leaders

Israel has been exploiting this internal, complex and delicate European dissent in recent years in order to change the way decisions about its policies are made in the EU

Noa Landau
Noa Landau

The official signal was sounded a year ago, in mid-July 2017. In an incident involving a microphone left open – it was not clear whether this was deliberate or not –  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was heard sharply assailing the European Union during a closed meeting held in Budapest with the prime ministers of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a group of countries known as the Visegrad Group, or the V-4. “The EU is the only international organization which predicates its relations with Israel – which provides it with technology – on political considerations,” said Netanyahu at the time, supposedly for the ears of these leaders only. However, his words were clearly heard over earphones handed out to journalists moments before they were cut off: “We have special relations with China and they don’t care about political issues. Modi told me he has to look after the interests of India; Russia doesn’t set political conditions and Africa doesn’t either. Only the European Union does – it’s crazy. It’s contrary to European interests.”