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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 $2.5 billion in 2016, far below potential. Despite the magnitude of the Spanish economy, it was only the 15th largest supplier of Israel, compared with Italy, positioned in 8th 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 Young Spanish Political Leaders Delegation


A delegation of young political leaders from Spain visited Israel with ELNET in January 2018 in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The delegation consisted of young members of the conservative Partido Popular party and centrist Ciudadanos party. The tailor made four-day trip took the delegation to Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv, and included political, economic and diplomatic briefings as well as field visits and meetings with civil society, academia, high-tech and media leaders in Israel.


The program opened in Jerusalem with an overview briefing during dinner with Israel's former ambassador to Spain, Herzl Inbar, which included representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ELNET. The delegation was also hosted in the Knesset and briefed by the Chair of the Israel-Spain Parliamentary Friendship Group MK Revital Swid (Zionist Union), member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Amir Ohana (Likud Party), and Former Head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), MK Yaakov Perry (Yesh Atid). Further activities included briefings and discussions with various experts, political analysts, activists and researchers and a meeting with Spain’s Ambassador to Israel Manuel Gómez-Acebo Rodríguez-Spiteri.

The Spanish Delegation with the Chair of the Israel-Spain Parliamentary Friendship Group, MK Revital Swid

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


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


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