(February 15, 2018 / Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took off for Germany on Thursday to attend the 2018 Munich Security Conference. Netanyahu will be the first Israeli prime minister to take part in the conference in the 55 years since it began.
While Israel has traditionally placed little importance on these types of international programs, officials in Jerusalem have come to realize that such events provide an important stage for Israel to voice its positions. Hundreds of world leaders attend each year, and as a result, Israeli ministers and other senior officials have delivered speeches there in recent years.
A number of prominent U.S. officials are set to take part in the conference, including U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, E.U. foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz are also set to participate.
Netanyahu will participate in a Sunday-morning discussion on the Middle East. After a short recess, he will be followed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The indirect exchange between the two leaders will undoubtedly serve as one of the highlights of the conference, given the recent military confrontation between Israel and Iran on the Syria-Israel border.