ELNET hosted its first-ever delegation from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Senior policymakers and experts from Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Romania came to visit Israel, nearly all of them for the first time.
The CEE countries have become increasingly important as they are the NATO frontier countries. In light of the war in Ukraine, they have come to recognize the importance of bolstering their defense capabilities, as well as protecting their critical infrastructure and crisis management strategies. Israel has much to offer these countries in each of these areas, and this delegation brought by ELNET serves to foster deeper cooperation between the CEE countries and Israel.
The delegation focused on strengthening security cooperation between the CEE countries and Israel, and included meetings with high-level Israeli policy makers, MKs from both coalition and the opposition, MFA officials and senior policy experts. They were briefed by the IDF at the border with Gaza and visited an Iron Dome defense system battery. They also visited Mabat 2000, Israel Police Headquarters in Jerusalem’s Old City, as well as the Israeli National Cyber Directorate.
In addition to policy meetings, the delegation gained insight into Israel’s crisis management and emergency response infrastructure by visiting the underground National Blood Bank, Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and Sha’ar HaNegev region.
On the last day of the delegation, the participants partook in the first ever CEE-Israel Strategic Dialogue, organized by ELNET’s Forum of Strategic Dialogue. The dialogue provided a platform for in-depth discussions on the Ukraine war and its aftermath (including Russia-Iran cooperation), protecting critical infrastructure and strategic resources, and crisis management and resilience.
See what the delegates had to say:
“When I saw the invitation [to join the delegation], I thought ‘it’s a dream trip to come [on]’. Israel is on the front line: fighting each and every day, and who is a better partner to learn from than Israel?
“Sharing the knowledge is the most important thing. You have something to teach us, we have a lot to learn from you.”
“The question we ask ourselves is 'why we haven’t thought about it earlier?' What you see in Israel when you visit, that is a takeaway you cannot get anywhere else... what ELNET does as an organization is an absolutely fantastic endeavor to achieve that purpose"