A glimpse into Israel's clandestine diplomacy

Veteran Israeli diplomat Dore Gold attempts to dispel what he considers to be false perceptions of Israel’s isolation.

February 27, 2017 11:20
2 minute read.
dore gold

DORE GOLD: ‘This has probably been the busiest season for Israel’s foreign policy in decades.’ (. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Former Foreign Ministry director- general Dore Gold is going to author a global best-seller one day when he feels the time is ripe, or he gets permission to declassify his clandestine meetings with people from enemy camps.

Gold, who also formerly served as Israeli envoy to the UN and is currently president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, shared the tip of the iceberg of what may one day be a book on Sunday night with an overflow audience at an event organized by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) at Yad Ben Zvi in Jerusalem.

Gold, who was invited to speak about Israel’s foreign relations, did his best to dispel what he considers to be false perceptions of Israel’s isolation. Last year, before the Herzliya Conference, he saw a Ynet article whose author contended that Israel was in a terrible state of isolation. According to Gold, there is a huge gap between misconception and reality on the ground.

Israel is far from isolated, he insists, and more countries – that either had severed diplomatic ties with Israel or never had them – are now interested in forging contacts with the Jewish state. Not all are willing to go as far as establishing diplomatic relations, and not all are willing to make their connections with Israel public.

Gold, without disclosing too much detail, spoke of his secret meetings with former Saudi Gen.

Anwar Eshki, who is head of the Middle East Center for Strategy and Legal Studies, and who is also close to the Saudi government. At their first encounter, they spoke about Iran, Yemen and Hezbollah.

When they first met, they were both affiliated with think tanks.

Although they did not agree on everything, they had so much in common and got along so well with each other that they kept meeting. Tired of secret encounters in Prague and Rome, they decided to meet in New Delhi and subsequently appear openly in Washington. But first they had to find an appropriate host.

Gold made the call. He knew some people at the Washington Council on Foreign Policy, where he and Eshki were welcomed with open arms. One after the other they spoke to a large audience about the dangers posed by Iran. The similar sentiments they voiced about Iran attracted considerable media attention.

Two days after his return from Washington, Gold was appointed director-general of the Foreign Ministry.

In July last year, Gold welcomed Eshki and a Saudi delegation to Jerusalem.

Further proof of changing attitudes toward Israel in the region and beyond were the opening by Gold of an Israeli legation in Abu Dhabi, where IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency of the United Nations, is headquartered.

Gold emphasized that this is not an embassy or a consulate, and that the head of the legation is accredited solely to IRENA, but made the point that all countries that are members of IRENA have some kind of relationship with the Arab emirates.

Until November 2015, when Gold attended the biannual meeting of the IRENA council, there had been no public appearance by a representative of the government of Israel in Abu Dhabi.

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