Israel to receive permanent office at NATO headquarters

In a significant upgrading of security ties, the 28-nation North Atlantic Treaty Organization confirmed on Tuesday night that it will recognize an official Israeli representative and permit Israel to open a permanent office in its headquarters in Brussels, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“NATO informed Israel this evening that Israel will be able to open an office at the organization’s headquarters in Brussels and complete the process of accepting the credentials of its representative to NATO,” the statement read.

“The announcement comes after lengthy Israeli diplomatic efforts by the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the National Security Agency. Israel wishes to thank its allies in the organization for their support and efforts on the issue,” the Foreign Ministry added.

The announcement came after prolonged diplomatic efforts by the Foreign and Defense Ministries as well as the National Security Council.

Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement and said, “I welcome NATO’s announcement. This is an important step in helping Israel’s security. It is an additional testimony to Israel’s position and the desire of many factors to cooperate with us in the field of security.”

Israel is not a member of NATO bloc, but has for years enjoyed military cooperation with the organization and is currently a partner of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a NATO outreach program with seven friendly nations bordering on the Mediterranean Sea.

The NATO treaty requires all signatories to militarily defend member nations, but not partner ones.

Partner states however regularly contribute to NATO operations such as those in Afghanistan and naval missions off Somalia and in the Mediterranean Sea.