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Netanyahu hails improved ties with Sweden

The PM discussed diplomatic issues and the struggle against antisemitism with visiting lawmakers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts Swedish lawmakers in Jerusalem, Aug. 28, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts Swedish lawmakers in Jerusalem, Aug. 28, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Monday with a delegation of Swedish parliamentarians amid improving bilateral relations since the establishment of a center-right government in Stockholm last year.

“I am glad to see that there is a change in Swedish policy,” Netanyahu told the delegation of pro-Israel lawmakers at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. “This is an important beginning.”

The meeting, which focused on diplomatic issues and the struggle against antisemitism, also dealt with increased cooperation between the two countries on technology and artificial intelligence, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

After decades of frosty relations with left-wing governments in Sweden, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen visited Stockholm in May. It was the first such visit by Israel’s top diplomat in nearly a quarter century.

That same month, two members of the Swedish Democrats, a far-right party with a Nazi past who are strong supporters of Israel, made an unofficial visit to Jerusalem, seeking to build friendships with the Jewish state. Their party, which is boycotted by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs but whose tough stance on immigration has appealed to Swedish voters, currently supports the center-right coalition from outside the government.

Meanwhile this summer, Sweden‘s security services have been on alert following the public burning of the Koran by individuals there that caused outrage in the Muslim world. The one-man protests were approved by the Swedish police in keeping with the country’s freedom of expression laws.

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