Exactly a week after demonstratively marching out of European Parliament President Martin Schulz’s speech in the Knesset, Economy Minister Naphtali Bennett walked into his Brussels office Wednesday for a conciliatory meeting.
According to a statement released by Bennett’s office, the two men discussed last week’s incident in the Knesset and agreed to work together to advance ties between Israel and Europe.
“Europe is Israel’s number one trade partner and we need to work to advance our ties,” Bennett said.
Bennett angrily led his fellow Bayit Yehudi MKs out of the Knesset plenum
last Wednesday after Schulz repeated accusations of wildly discriminatory Israeli water policies toward the Palestinians.
“I will not accept a false moralizing narrative against Israel in our parliament, in our Knesset. Certainly not in German,” Bennett wrote on his Facebook page after the incident. He also demanded an apology from Schulz.
Critics of Bennett, meanwhile, said that he owed Schulz, who is running for the presidency of the European Commission, an apology for his behavior in the Knesset.
During the 50 minute meeting, which began tense but got warmer as it continued, neither man apologized.
Moreover, the water issue was not discussed.
Bennett – in Brussels to participate in the ninth ministerial meeting on Euro-Mediterranean industrial cooperation – asked for the meeting, and Schulz readily agreed.
According to his office, Bennett pushed back during the meeting against what he called “the singling out” of Israel in steps taken in Europe against Israeli businesses operating in the West Bank.
“There are many conflict zones in the world and we will not accept Israel being singled out,” he said.