(JNS.org) Israel has reportedly granted approval to a group of top Israeli business leaders to visit Cuba—which has no diplomatic ties with the Jewish state—to establish trade relations with the Caribbean nation’s government-owned corporations.
The Israeli delegation, organized by the Israel-Latin American Chamber of Commerce, is slated to arrive in Havana in early December, The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.
The delegation is comprised of about 20 top executives from the fields of agriculture, renewable energy, water, food production, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and real estate.
Reports of the delegation’s upcoming trip come just two weeks after Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev made a private visit to Cuba.
Regev’s trip marked the first such visit by a sitting Israeli minister to Havana since 1973, according to senior Israeli officials. The minister purportedly did not conduct any official meetings during her stay.
While the communist regime of Fidel Castro initially had a warm relationship with Israel shortly after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Cuba unilaterally cut ties with the Jewish state in 1973 as Castro sought to increase relations with third-world countries in the Non-Aligned Movement, including Arab nations opposed to Israel’s existence.
Cuba’s harsh stance on Israel in international forums, its ties with Iran and Venezuela, and the U.S. embargo on Cuba also led to the deterioration of the Cuban-Israeli diplomatic relationship. Nevertheless, Israelis often visit Cuba and have contact with the country’s small Jewish community.