(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Tuesday for a historic visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, two Muslim-majority nations, in an effort to bolster ties with the Central Asian former Soviet Republics.
In Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku, Netanyahu met with President Ilham Aliyev, who has been an outspoken supporter of Israel and an adversary of Iran, which shares a border with Azerbaijan.
Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan’s Jewish community plays “a very active part of our society.” He also revealed that to date, Azerbaijan has purchased close to $5 billion in defense equipment from Israel.
“The biggest part of these contracts have already been executed and still we are continuing to work on that, and we are very satisfied with the level of this cooperation,” Aliyev said.
Netanyahu recalled his previous visit to Azerbaijan nearly 20 years ago during his first term as prime minister, and lauded Israeli-Azerbaijani ties as “something that we can show the world.”
“The world sees so much intolerance, so much darkness, and here is an example of what relations can be and should be between Muslims and Jews everywhere,” said Netanyahu.
Following his stay in Azerbaijan, Netanyahu will visit Kazakhstan in an effort to boost defense and economic ties.