VIDEO: In an effort to stabilize the region, Israel’s Netanyahu praises Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev’s pledge of cooperation with Israel, seeking greater security and world peace amid this significant diplomatic visit as representative of Macedonia’s new government.
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Macedonia stands with Israel in its fight against extremism and on behalf of world peace, the country’s prime minister Zoran Zaev told his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of their meeting in Jerusalem on Monday.
“We are very happy that we are here in Israel. We’re hoping that our cooperation will be mainly on two levels. The first level is cooperation for security and for world peace,” said Zaev.
Israel is one of the prime minister’s first foreign trips since he took office at the end of May. During his tenure he hopes that his small Balkan country of 2 million people will become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
If he is successful in that effort, Zaev said, his country will support Israel from within the organization.
“The threat of radicalism and extremism is really present here in this region against Israel but also against my small country Macedonia and the whole region of the western part of the Balkans,” Zaev said.
“We have cooperated on the level of security and the level of defense until now, and I know that we will increase this cooperation because it is in the interest of [both countries],” he added.
His small country of 2 million people could also benefit from Israel’s experience in high-tech and as a start-up nation, Zaev said.
The Macedonian prime minister paid homage to the long history of the small 200 member Jewish community in his country, which dates back to the time of the fall of the Second Temple.
At the start of World Word II some 100,000 Jews lived in Macedonia, many of whom were killed in the Holocaust. The bulk of the survivors relocated to Israel.
“Macedonia highly respects the cultural heritage of the Jewish people in our country. We remember the victims of the Holocaust,” said Zaev adding that he stood by the slogan, “Never again.”
He recalled that in 2011 his country opened the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia and since 2015 has worked on rehabilitating a Jewish cemetery.
View original The Jerusalem Post publication at: