On the planet of geopolitics, probability encounters can spark vital change. Towards the backdrop of the current United Nations Basic Meeting (UNGA) in New York Metropolis, two leaders from seemingly totally different nations, in line with some, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not too long ago got here collectively in a gathering that would mark a crucial level of their nations’ relationship. This gathering, marked by “heat” and “optimism” for a key professional, has left a mark on the trail forward for Türkiye and Israel.
The air in New York was charged with anticipation as, on Sept. 20, Erdoğan welcomed Netanyahu on the Turkish Home (Türkevi), a diplomatic hub of Türkiye within the metropolis. The symbolism of this assembly was simple, as the 2 leaders from nations which have skilled their fair proportion of diplomatic turbulence had been now extending olive branches, and the world watched with admiration.
Marc Schneier, a revered American rabbi and consultant of the U.S. Jewish neighborhood, was not solely an observer however a participant on this outstanding gathering. In an interview with Each day Sabah, Rabbi Schneier offered distinctive insights into the environment that pervaded the room in the course of the Erdoğan-Netanyahu encounter. His phrases had been laden with optimism, and he described the assembly as “optimistic and heartfelt,” an affirmation that went past mere diplomatic pleasantries.
“The talks had a really pleasant and open environment,” he mentioned. “A number of necessary subjects, together with power and commerce, with ministers from associated fields current, had been mentioned,” he famous.
“Nevertheless,” he highlighted, “an important facet was the real messages from each leaders to create a path towards peace.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (C-R), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C-L) and their delegations throughout a gathering in New York, U.S., Sept. 19, 2023. (AA Picture)
The phrases from Schneier, a senior rabbi on the Hampton Synagogue in New York’s Westhampton, had been spoken just some hours earlier than Erdoğan, in response to journalists’ questions throughout an interview earlier than his departure from the U.S., expressed, “There’s nothing like peace.”
The “positivity” the rabbi sensed on the assembly was not only a one-time occasion, however reasonably a bigger development. It signifies a sea of change within the traditionally advanced relationship between Türkiye and Israel. Extra importantly, the rabbi emphasised that it hints at a future brimming with promise for bilateral relations, including, “The ties have been in good condition for over a decade.”
In response to Schneier, “One of the vital compelling indicators of this optimistic shift is Netanyahu’s deliberate go to to Ankara.” He identified that if this go to materializes, it is going to mark “the second milestone” in current instances for improved relations, recalling that “the primary milestone” was Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s go to to the Turkish capital in March 2022 – an occasion following a collection of cellphone diplomacy efforts that signified an obvious willingness on each side to rebuild bridges that had lengthy been uncared for.
Again in March 2022, Schneier, a distinguished determine in Türkiye-Israeli relations, labored with senior Turkish officers to make the historic Herzog-Erdoğan gathering and its pre-talks a actuality.
Consultants agree with the American rabbi that Herzog’s go to was essential because it occurred a few years after the tense relations between Türkiye and Israel reached a low level because of the tragic 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. Throughout this unlucky occasion, Israeli forces killed 10 Turkish residents on a pro-Palestinian activist ship that was making an attempt to penetrate the Gaza Strip blockade.
This Dec. 26, 2010 file photograph exhibits the Mavi Marmara – the lead boat of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip that was stormed by Israeli naval commandos in a predawn confrontation within the Mediterranean on Could 31, 2010 – upon its return to Istanbul, Türkiye. (AP Picture)
Nevertheless, Rabbi Schneier believes one of the best second on this friendship, “the creme de la creme” as he says, has but to return, as Erdoğan’s anticipated go to to Israel is on the horizon. Erdoğan is predicted to go to Israel quickly, which, in line with the rabbi, exhibits “the dedication of each nations to maneuver ahead in a brand new path.”
“It is an necessary go to that carries immense significance for not solely the leaders but in addition their residents who’ve been eager for a stronger period of cooperation and understanding,” mentioned the rabbi. “Erdoğan goals to construct relations as he did with Herzog final yr.”
Throughout their final interview in New York, the Turkish chief confirmed that Netanyahu could go to Türkiye quickly, whereas a press release from the Israeli chief’s workplace said that they each agreed to go to one another’s nations “quickly.” Nevertheless, no formal announcement has been made but.
Schneier, the writer of “Sons of Abraham” and “Shared Desires,” is an opinion chief who talks concerning the connection between Jews and Muslims who descend from “the sons of Prophet Abraham.” He thinks that Judaism and Islam are probably the most comparable religions among the many Abrahamic faiths, defining it as a “shared destiny.”
In 1989, Schneier based the Basis for Ethnic Understanding, whose preliminary goal was to fix relations between America’s black and Jewish communities. For 17 years, he has labored to enhance relations between Muslims and Jews all over the world.
Throughout a Zoom name with Each day Sabah, Schneier counseled the American-Jewish neighborhood’s proactive efforts to reinforce relations between Ankara, Tel Aviv and their nations.
“As an example, after the deadly earthquakes in February, the neighborhood shortly activated its networks to offer financial help to the victims within the affected areas of Türkiye,” remembered the rabbi. He additional added, “The State of Israel promptly dispatched army items to these areas.”
An Israeli search and rescue crew conducts a rescue operation after the lethal earthquakes, Kahramanmaraş, southern Türkiye, Feb. 12, 2023. (Getty Photographs Picture)
On Feb. 6, seismic occasions of magnitude 7.7 and seven.6 shook southeastern Turkish provinces, killing over 50,000 folks and affecting over 13.5 million.
Schneier additionally praised the Jewish neighborhood in Türkiye, stating that their leaders and representatives have usually communicated positively with the Turkish authorities, which helps enhance relationships between each events. He identified that Erdoğan has persistently expressed his dedication to addressing the wants of the Jewish diaspora and providing his help to the neighborhood throughout the nation.
Simply on Sept. 15, the Turkish chief re-expressed the nation’s dedication to selling cultural variety and tolerance in a message celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Yr. He said, “Totally different non secular beliefs, love and tolerance are enriching components of our society.”
Schneier additionally talked concerning the hazard to humanity posed by the growing prevalence of xenophobia, racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, significantly in Europe.
“Europe has a critical historical past of xenophobia,” he said, including that neither Jewish folks nor Muslims have had such a file of their historical past. This, in line with him, is proof that each nations ought to work collectively to fight hate towards humanity.
The rabbi echoed Erdoğan’s Hanukkah assertion from final yr. On Dec. 18, 2022, in a written message to ship his Hanukkah greetings to the Jewish folks worldwide, the Turkish chief said, “Whereas anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia threaten social peace as we speak in lots of nations in addition to world peace, the unity and solidarity all our residents show in our nation with mutual respect, love and understanding, with none discrimination, units an distinctive instance to your complete world.”
The optimistic reconciliation between Ankara and Tel Aviv is going on at a time when the world, particularly the Center East, is caught in a wave of normalization amongst regional states amid a large number of challenges, together with geopolitical tensions and financial uncertainties.
Each nation within the area, from Saudi Arabia to Qatar and Türkiye to Israel, is reportedly in a interval of normalization. States are ignoring their current obstacles or power issues in an try to fix their damaged relations individually. Only recently, Ankara and Riyadh signed key agreements to spice up their friendship, whereas Tel Aviv and Riyadh have greenlighted a optimistic period to prevail of their future.
Consultants consider that the Türkiye-Israel relations are taking form in step with this evolving geopolitical dynamic. The American rabbi connects the present worldwide scenario with the scenario between Türkiye and Israel; nonetheless, he believes there’s extra to it as each nations have maintained a optimistic development for greater than 10 years, regardless of some points, together with the disagreements concerning the Palestine case.
The Palestinian problem stays a big hurdle to the development of relations between Türkiye and Israel.
Türkiye has lengthy supported the Palestinian trigger with a agency and unwavering stance, expressing concern about Israel’s remedy of Palestinians, particularly the blockade of the Gaza Strip and the development of unlawful settlements within the occupied West Financial institution and East Jerusalem.
Turkish officers stress that it is essential to have a simply and complete settlement of the Palestinian matter, following worldwide legislation and U.N. resolutions, to achieve enduring peace and stability within the Center East.
This dedication was reaffirmed by Erdoğan in the course of the current UNGA as nicely.