Watch: Who are Israel’s friends in the world

Most of the countries in the world have diplomatic relations with Israel. Out of the 193 countries that are members of the UN, about 30 of them do not have relations with Israel, had relations with Israel in the past but severed them or have unstable relations with Israel.
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Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel’s diplomatic relations with Nicaragua have been restored. In light of the announcement and Netanyahu’s recent visits abroad, Channel 2 News checked which countries in the world have diplomatic relations with Israel, which countries had diplomatic relations with Israel in the past and which countries have never had diplomatic relations with Israel.

16 countries in the world have never had a diplomatic relationship with Israel. Most of the countries are Muslim and Arab countries that have never had diplomatic relations with Israel due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The list of these countries includes Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Bangladesh and Algeria. There are only two countries that are not necessarily Muslim or not Muslim at all: Bhutan and North Korea.

Aside from the countries that have never had diplomatic relations with Israel, there are countries that actually do have some type of relationship with Israel, just not officially, and those that once had relations with Israel. Among these 13 countries, you will find Iran. Even though Tehran and Jerusalem do not have any diplomatic relations now, prior to 1979, the two countries were considered great friends.  

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Netanyahu Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Israel has, or at least had up until recently, “under the table” relations with moderate Arab countries- the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, including Qatar, Oman and the UAE, and Tunisia and Morocco in North Africa. The Second Intifada and Israel’s operations in Gaza increased the tensions between Israel and these states, which occasionally harmed the relations.

There are also non-Muslim and non-Arab countries that have an unstable history with Israel. These countries include Niger, Mali and the Comoros, all of which had relations with Israel in the 1990s but currently have no relations with Jerusalem. Another country with an unstable record with Israel is Venezuela. In 2009, former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced that his country has severed its ties with Israel due to the IDF’s operations in Gaza and the West Bank. A similar decision was made by Bolivian President Evo Morales later that same year.

Bangladesh does not have diplomatic relations with Israel Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

When you look at a map of the world and color the countries that have relations with Israel in green, an encouraging picture is revealed. If you look past the concentration of North African and Middle Eastern countries, Israel’s diplomatic situation is relativity good: about 160 countries have relations with Israel. Only about 30 countries do not have diplomatic relations with Israel or have severed their relations with Israel.

All of the countries in Europe have diplomatic relations with Israel. This is also true about all of the Oceanian countries, most of which are considered some of Israel’s most loyal friends such as the Federated States of Micronesia, which always sides with Israel on UN votes.

When examining Israel’s relations with the countries that are UN member states, you will see that Israel is not recognized by 32 member states (out of 193). In addition, Israel is not recognized by Western Sahara, which is not recognized as a country and is not a member of the UN.



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