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ELNET (European Leadership Network)

Spain is the fifth most populous state in the EU, one of the largest southern EU countries and the fifth largest economy in the Eurozone. As a result, Madrid has significant impact over EU policies and has a long tradition of influence in the Mediterranean region. Over the years, Spain has been involved in major Middle Eastern developments, including in recent military operations led by the U.S., as well as the regional peace process. Spain also contributes troops to the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL).


Despite belated diplomatic ties (1986) and periodic disagreements over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bilateral relations between Spain and Israel based on shared democratic values and common interests are strong. Indeed in recent years, high-ranking Spanish figures such as former Prime Minister José María Aznar have called for a stronger Europe-Israel relationship. Furthermore, Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established Casa Sefarad-Israel to fight anti-Semitism and foster a better understanding of Jewish culture, further the study of the Sephardic culture and promote relations between Spain and Israel.  More...


Trade relations between Israel and Spain totaled about $2.2 billion in 2011, far below potential. Despite the magnitude of the Spanish economy, it was only the 13th largest supplier of Israel, compared with Italy, positioned in 4th place. In light of a severe economic predicament in Spain, engaging the dynamic Israeli economy may provide a driving force to strengthen the relationship.


The people of Spain and of Israel have a shared history. Unfortunately we experienced a period of detachment for hundreds of years in our relationship and as a result the Spanish public does not know Israel so well. They only know Israel through the lens of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and we must work today to change the current status […] Spain requests to strengthen, tighten and broaden its strategic relations with Israel.
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero Spain's Former Prime Minister, from the Socialist Party



Relations between Spain and Israel are heading forward. ELNET's targeted efforts in Spain have contributed to this trend, in its development of ties with both the left and the right wing parties and in bringing more than 100 senior figures from Spain to Israel in recent years.









ELNET hosts a delegation of Spanish Socialist MPs in partnership with ACOM


ELNET and ACOM hosted a delegation of four MPs from the Spanish Parliament in Israel with the goal of understanding the political and social reality facing the country. ELNET's objective was to facilitate these elected representatives in discovering the strategic challenges faced by Israel and the Middle East. The delegation came just a few months before elections in Spain emphasizing the importance these MPs see in building strategic relations between the countries.


The delegation of the Spanish Socialist MPs was headed by MP Juan Moscoso (PSOE) – Deputy Chairman of the Spanish-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group – and included three members of Congress from Spain. ELNET organized meetings with politicians, officials, media representatives as well as strategic briefings and an introduction to Israel as a "Start-up Nation".

The delegation with MK Avi Dichter, former Minister and former Head of Israel's internal security service


Spain's ruling party punished in local and regional elections, EUObserver


Spain, NATO, and Israel, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs