Jewish Groups Hail Israel-Turkey Rapprochement Deal

Jewish American groups on Monday welcomed the announcement of a reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey that will restore full diplomatic relations and renew the economic, military and political cooperation between the two Middle East countries.

“The restoration of Israeli-Turkish relations is a significant and welcome achievement,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement.

While the agreement is unlikely to immediately erase the tensions that have marked Israeli-Turkish relations over the past decade, “We commend both Israel and Turkey for the resumption of full relations, and join them in looking ahead to a new era of constructive and productive bilateral ties that further both countries’ national and regional interests,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO, said.

The rapprochement agreement was announced on Monday after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, and the Israeli negotiation team finalized the details in the final round of talks in Rome. The agreement will formally be signed on Tuesday and ratified by the diplomatic-security cabinet on Wednesday. Knesset members are also expected to vote on the agreement after studying it for 14 days, according to Haaretz.

“I think it’s an important step here to normalize relations on one side. It has also immense implications for the Israeli economy,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome on Monday.

“I think it’s a positive step, one of, I hope, the beginning of others,” Kerry added.

A poll published on Monday showed that Israeli public is opposed to the deal. According to the Channel 10 poll, 56 percent of Israelis, including 65 percent of Israeli Jews, oppose the deal, while 33 percent (24 percent among Israeli Jews) support it.

American Jewish Congress President, Jack Rosen said in a statement that the agreement presents a major opportunity for Israel, Turkey and the entire region. “With so much of the region increasingly plagued by political and economic instability, the refresh in ties between these major powers is a critical step toward a more stable future for the Middle East,” said Rosen.

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