Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met in Madrid on Thursday with his Spanish counterpart José Manuel Albares, with the Iranian threat topping the agenda.
“Europe and the entire world must face Iran with a united and aggressive front in order to prevent a nuclear Iran. The way to do this is by initiating economic and political sanctions together with a credible military threat. Spain will soon assume its role as president of the European Union, and in my talks I will ask that the Iranian issue have a greater weight in European discussions and decisions,” said Cohen ahead of the tête-à-tête.
“In addition, I will make it clear…Israel is not opposed to humanitarian support for the Palestinians but we will not agree to the provision of funds that will reach incitement factors and indirectly encourage terrorism. Israel and Spain have many areas of common interest and I intend to present methods of deepening relations between our countries on cyber issues, financial technologies, the battle against desertification and more,” he added.
Cohen also met with the Speaker of Parliament Meritxell Batet, the heads of the Spain-Israel Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the Jewish community.
The trip comes against the backdrop of a series of antisemitic incidents in Barcelona.
On Wednesday, vandals scrawled graffiti reading, “Why do you kill in Palestine” outside a Chabad synagogue in the city. Nine days earlier, the Great Synagogue of Barcelona was defaced with graffiti reading, “Free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, blamed that desecration on Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau’s decision to sever the city’s twinning agreement with Tel Aviv.
“The irresponsible decision of the mayor of Barcelona to unilaterally sever relations with the State of Israel has put the Jewish community in the city in real danger,” said Goldschmidt. “Every additional case of vandalism and bloodshed as a result of this unfortunate choice will be on her hands.”