MKs Aliza Lavie of Yesh Atid (front left), Anat Berko of Likud (front Right), and Amir Ohana of Likud (back center) along with Norwegian parliament members at an event in which a pro-Israel caucus was founded at the parliament in Oslo.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Could Norway follow up on countries moving their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem?
That is unlikely, considering years of challenges in relations between the two countries. But in a step in the right direction, Norway became the 38th country with a pro-Israel parliamentary caucus, in a festive ceremony at the parliament in Oslo on Friday.
The previous two countries where Israel Allies Caucuses were founded were Guatemala in October and Romania in May 2017. The parliament members in the caucuses successfully lobbied their governments to move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem. Guatemala’s is moving May 16 and Romania’s prime minister and parliament speaker have both said theirs will move soon.
“The launching of the Norwegian Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus is of incredible significance in promoting faith-based diplomacy in Scandinavia,” said Josh Reinstein, the president of the Israel Allies Foundation. “We are excited to see something positive come out of Oslo.”
A delegation from the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, composed of MK Anat Berko (Likud), MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid) and Reinstein, attended the launch and a peace conference in Oslo. The delegation met with MP Hans Fredrik Grovan, who will serve as the chairman of the Norwegian Parliamentary Israel Allies Caucus.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome members of Knesset to Norway on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day of Israel,” Grovan said. “This visit from the Israeli parliament is an important measure to strengthen the relationship between our two countries.”
The peace conference was organized by With Israel for Peace (MIFF), a watchdog organization that fights the demonization and delegitimization of Israel in Norwegian media and politics. With Israel for Peace is the largest nonreligious pro-Israel membership group in Europe. The group has grown rapidly in the last 10 years, from fewer than 2,000 members in 2008, to more than 10,600 members today. With Israel for Peace has 27 branches across Norway.
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The conference is With Israel for Peace’s biggest annual event, and this year culminated with a celebration of Israel’s 70th Independence Day at the Oslo Concert House, attended by some 1,400 Norwegian friends of Israel. The objectives of the conference are to cultivate love and support for Israel among Norwegians and to build strong relationships to combat the anti-Israel agenda in the media.
Lavie, who serves as the chairwoman of the Israeli- Norwegian Parliamentary Friendship Group, spoke on the rise in antisemitism in Europe.
“Israel currently faces enormous challenges, including the spread of antisemitism and the increase of the boycott initiatives around Europe,” she said. “This event is an excellent opportunity to discuss the continuation of our mutual objectives in these fields, together with our loyal and strong supporters in Norway.”
Berko spoke on radical Islamic terrorism.
“We must work together to stand up for the truth about Israel – a country where we celebrate life while our enemies celebrate death and seek the destruction of the Jewish state and its people,” said Berko.
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