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May 27, 2018 10:31 am

First-Ever Delegation From Azerbaijan Visits Israel During US Embassy Opening

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with the Azerbaijan President Ilham Heydar Oghlu Aliyev on Dec. 13, 2016. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.

JNS.org –  On May 14, as the United States was inaugurating its new embassy in Jerusalem, senior officials from Azerbaijan visited Israel for a first-ever meeting meant to strengthen economic ties between Israel the two countries.

An Azeri delegation headed by the Azeri tax minister stayed for three days, meeting with Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection Zeev Elkin on ways to promote economic, commercial and business ties.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the country in December 2016 to strengthen relations between the countries.

Azerbaijan is a major customer for Israeli weapons, having purchased nearly $5 billion in arms from the Jewish state, including radar systems and drones, which it uses in a protracted war with Armenia over control of territory.

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Reports also suggest that Israel uses Azer territory to surveil neighboring Iran. The Kuwaiti paper Al-Jarida quoted an Israeli source as saying that the massive cache of Iranian documents Netanyahu recently displayed in a televised presentation on the nuclear threat of Iran were smuggled by Mossad agents to Israel through Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan provides Israel with energy, and receives high-tech, medical and agricultural supplies from Israel.

Though the country is 97 percent Muslim, it is home to approximately 12,000 Jews and to several Jewish schools, a Chabad center and a kosher restaurant in Baku, the nation’s capital and commercial hub.

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