Norway works hard to mend relations with Israel

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Norway: Boycotting Israel will not promote positive change

Country with record of enmity towards Israel is now assuming more balanced policy in region, enhancing cooperation in various fields such as energy, television. Norway’s prime minister is expected to make first visit to Israel this year

Eldad Beck

BERLIN – The new Norwegian government, which so far was considered one of the most hostile administrations facing Israel, is working towards bracing the ties between the two countries and enhancing mutual cooperation in an array of fields.

The conservative-progressive minority government, which was established some three months ago, included an article in its elections platform that states that the government will change its Middle East policy and implement a more balanced course of action. This is in stark opposition to previous leftist administrations, whose policy was clearly pro-Arab.

As part of the new policy, Norway’s Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader Erna Solberg is expected to make a visit to Israel later this year. It will be the first visit of a Norwegian prime minister in over a decade. Solberg was also among the first world leaders to issue a letter of condolences following the passing of former prime minister Ariel Sharon.

“There are indications of a significant improvement in the ties between the two countries,” said Israeli Ambassador to Oslo Naim Araidi. “The public and the authorities are beginning to understand that relations with Israeli do not necessarily have to be defined by the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the two nations can develop normal ties in every field regardless.”

Immediately following the establishment of the new government, the Israeli embassy to Norway initiated a preliminary meeting between Israeli and Norwegian companies, who discussed opportunities to promote business interactions between the well-developed Norwegian oil sector and Israel’s developing natural gas industry. The acting finance minister, who is the leader of the Progressive Party, has expressed public support of a tighter cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy over the past.

Despite calls made in recent years in Norway – inter alia among local artists – to boycott Israel, the new Norwegian Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey said: “We don’t see the boycott as an effective tool to promote positive change. The Norwegian government is interested in tighter cultural relations between the two countries. I am certain that a deeper mutual understanding is a prerequisite for achieving progress on political matters.”

Last week, Widvey opened a conference for Norwegian television producers, which was dedicated to the success of the Israeli television industry in exporting drama series.

About 160 Norwegian televison producers and both private and state networks heard lectures by two of the Israeli industry senior personalities: Karni Ziv, director of the drama and comedy department at the Keshet franchise, and Reshef Levi, a producer and screenwriter. The sides discussed future cooperation opportunities.

“I am impressed by the achievements of the Israeli television and film industry, development of television series that were a national and international success, series that were exported and highly praised around the world – like ‘In Treatment’ and ‘Homeland’,” said the Norwegian culture minister.

“I believe that the success of Israeli productions could inspire the Norwegian industry. It shows that even a relatively small country can achieve great accomplishments. The key to success is a good story and quality directing.”


10 comments for “Norway works hard to mend relations with Israel

  1. : )
    January 25, 2014 at 2:01 am


    hope you read bt-magasinet online about boys in Gaza today. It was new to me that all kids in Norway learn about the Israel.Palestina conflict at school. When it is so then its very important what stands in the news about this conflict. I had my doubts about a lot in this article. It would be great to hear your analysis McG : )

  2. : )
    January 25, 2014 at 4:38 am

    On this is what the law says about morsmål in Norway:

    If you want everyone that has a non norwegian parents to have the right to have their parents language at a public Norwegian school you have to work to change the law. To give pupils that lack skills in Norwegian extra help to learn more Norwegian is important, but what you think seems to be that the children should have a identity after where their parents originally came from, and that morsmål education is then a part of this identity building, hm that sound odd and nearly nationalistic. Hm hope I miss read you. No State will pay for a state in the state! Kids at Norwegians schools has to be respected for the individual person they are not what they parents are!

    What about just having one twitter account?

  3. January 26, 2014 at 1:30 am

    please stay on topic! This is not even remotely connected to the post you are commenting on.

  4. : )
    January 26, 2014 at 2:33 am


    have tried for so long to grab what is the hole case, it has been so much info up and down. So many nice, but hurted people. Now its clear as ink on the wall for me.

    Norwegian school educate children in ME conflict, how media present it at all time is hyper important so that when a teacher ask his pubils to just find facts in the Norwegian news. The news are balansed and two sided. Not poor Muslims the Jews are mean. A reason why old antisemittic actions has happen against us by just kids that can’t be political motivated yet.

    Before this conflict was educated to young people age 16 – up. I lost a mark when I defended Israel for having a progressiv defending politic. Was taken down infront of the hole classrom, the worst was that after the hole session my teacher had to tuch my sholder, that felt like 100% overtramp on my personality. If I had knew then that my grandfather was Jewish I could have done something. But I have been told that if this ever happen now in Norway get as many names as possible and it will be taken action against at once! And please report everything that feel not good we need to know all that is happening! Just stop runing around and do things for fun! I’m glad that the line is this and not the one the red-green made where mobbing was just normal!

    Glad the police protected MIFF:

    And more glad that Joav show him self:

    Joav I don’t want to fight you! Peace!

  5. martin
    January 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I would like to comment on the remarks made by the Norwegian prime minister and the different tone made by the evil Tony Blair . The latter eulogised Sharon and then said how he had left debris behind him. At least Ms Solberg was more understanding, truthful and understanding the realities of Ariel Sharon.

    I was in Israel during the Yom Kippur War, when the Israeli military did not even have night fighting vision, unlike the wonderfully Soviet equipped Egyptian and Syrian military. Sharon, as a soldier and leader of men, who made mistakes, as we all do, in my opinion was the finest general in modern times. One viewed other military leaders on TV during the war and the only one who caught the positive imagination of Israelis was Sharon. his problem was that he was not a leftwing general and that was held against him.

    He was known as one who would be followed to Damascus, but not to Jerusalem. I was not impressed by him politically, however. I met him in London during a Herut/Likud and pleaded with him to place Israels interests first ahead of his own. So many other ex generals had placed their own political interests ahead of Israel’s needs.
    He was blamed for the slaughter of mainly armed Arab Muslim combatants in the refugee camps in Beirut. He allowed Christian Lebanese (Phalangists) to go in and complete the roundup of the terrorists. Earlier, Muslim Fakestinians had slaughtered hundreds of Christians in the Lebanon. All this was nothing unusual in Arab an Arab country, as we have seen regularly since the Arab Autumn began. (Oh sorry, the term is Arab Spring), The committee found him guilty of poor judgement. However, Israeli military leaders did not relish the idea of going into the camps without being able to judge a combatant from a civilian. Uniforms are not part of a terrorists clothing. It was felt that Israel had too many casualties and it was time for the Israeli supplied and trained Christian militia to take on a more relevant role in the fighting.

    So we have slaughter of Muslims by Christians with the blame placed on the Jews. Bloody typical. Sharon was also blamed for starting the intifada. Why? Because he dared to visit the Temple Mount. So according to the bloody Arabs and their sympathetic friends in the west, the east, Africa and Asia, a Jew should be forbidden to visit Jerusalem or even set foot on supposed occupied territories. That is apartheid. Pure and simple.

    To finish off nicely with a happy joke. Top Israeli and US military officials were negotiating the exchange of three top generals between them. The USA asked for General Sharon, General Dayan and General Rabin. The Israelis asked for General Electric Corp, General Motors and General Dynamics

  6. : )
    January 27, 2014 at 3:24 am


    its easy to judge and say I would have done this and that if I where there. Thank you for your reflections. I think you have done well. Sharon did the best he could and has found peace.

    I found this:

    Personally I tend most to Rousseau theoretical but practical I see I often want what I know and remember. I really have to use time to figure out what could be best, when one has limited time to think then its easy to just do as one are used to.

  7. martin
    January 28, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Norwegian what is forgotten is the fact that the Lebanon was a very decent country. Beirut was called the Paris or the Nice of the mid east. The population was roughly half and half between Muslim and Christian, with the position of President and prime minister would reflect this situation. Unfortunately, the various political terror factions took over control, with the Lebanon unable to do anything about it. The UN just stood by. Once the USA suffered huge casualties in the bombing there, they pulled out. The French are too ineffectual,. Remember Syria and the Lebanon were under French colonial control prior to their independence. When the late Hussein of Jordan faced a real civil war with the PLO and other factions, he realised what danger his country faced. He after all is basically a Saudi prince, propped up by the British, a situation continued after his grandfather first rules the 78% of Palestine, later Trans-Jordan, finally becoming Jordan
    Those terrorists surrendered to Israel rather than face the ire of King Hussein of Jordan, many went to join their cousins in Lebanon. Their numbers grew to become again a real threat to the country, as it does today.

    I have read reports here in the UK regarding Sharon, and realised the ignorant hate in misreporting actual facts in many papers continued. It is unbelievable that this man caused an intifada because he dared to walk on the Temple Mount. Arafat had already planned the intifada.

    Sadly Norwegian, even in so called “friendly” countries facts are withheld. While I was in the USA, I was reliable informed that most of their international news other than CNN is from the BBC. That is all the USA requires. The BBC is the mentor of the NRK
    Lastly, be happy in knowing that Arik Sharon was a real hero. Unlike European royalty, and generals etc from many countries who wear row after row of medals, Sharon, and the IDF generally don’t require meaningless decorations. Sharon was a real hero, love him or hate him, one cannot take that away from him. His men and women would have followed him to Damascus, let alone Beirut. Just think in 1973, Israel had the opportunity to do just that. If they had, perhaps the slaughter in Syria might never had started. oops that was a mistake. Now Israel will be blamed for Syrian atrocities on both sides.

  8. : )
    January 29, 2014 at 2:19 am


    as I see it in Israel today the hole Jewsih history is lived out by different fractions trying to present them self as the true one. Someone sits at Masada other stand infront of tanks to show sympaty with the Palestinians. I would probably would have closed my mind as Sharon and just coroporated with people that did things, not just sat and spoke all the time. When one do things with out a plan responsebilety is not easy to place. Peres want to place resopnsebilety so that the world can be predicted. Sharon was a person that knew a world like that would just creat public enemies for the elite. What other options did Sharon have? Its for the people of Israel to see now if they can get out of a post modern chaos.

    My grandfather sad when we spoke about the future judge a man by his ability to handle situations, not his ability to speak about what he should have done. Everyone knows what one should have done, but very few can handle new situations well.

    The rabbin I like best sad: do you know what all I speak to says oh I feel so shame, don’t tell me that you to are a person like that, its so boring when all are the same don’t you think? I really don’t have time to hear about the sex life bet you take responsebilety there or have started : ) By the way how are you going to save the world then? What a wonderfull plan as a normal Jew you just believe you can, wonderfull hope you make it : )
    I just had to laugh. If a man that has used hours to read the Talmund has figured out that, then I doubt God sit on a cloud and say no, no, no. He must be just very open for human failuers in general : ) Or what?

    Reality can be hard, it takes time to build Israel and time is just what the enemy of Israel try to take away. Take time McG time to rest, time to have fun and you will make it!

  9. martin
    January 29, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Yes Norwegian, I flicked around the various news sites, I believe it was the BBC or Al Jazeera that showed a small gathering of “Israelis” who were demonstrating with placards and loud speakers in support of the thousands of illegal immigrants in Israel. Most of them are African Muslims, illiterate and need care. They came through the porous lines between Israel and Egypt. At a time when Egypt was “Friendlier” towards Israel. Israel has had to absorb millions of penniless and yes some illiterate Jewish refuges from Africa and Asia. Why should Israel be expected to accept those who might use the excuse of being “refugees” (who should be accepted by the first country they enter) and then decide to show their gratitude towards the country Just like those “European Muslims” who left the country where some were even born and gone to Afghanistan to kill their co=nationals?
    The main point is that like so many of these groups they are not typical of Israel. They are supported and funded by anti Israel groups and are always from the extreme left wing parties in Israel, hand in hand with the extreme right i.e. the Naturei Karta.

    Peres, is a curse upon Israel. Whatever good he did Israel (and he did) was a long time ago. since then, he should have been retired to the “funny farm” where he belongs, not in the presidential office. Unlike him, Sharon was a real Israeli, who had to fight the internal politics of the military. He after all was from the right wing of politics. Sharon, unlike Peres, was a real hero.

    Norwegian you must understand that Israel unlike Norway is a kaleidoscope of many colours.. The country contains Jews of all colours. cultures and nationalities of countries they left willingly or were expelled from. Miss Israel is black originating from Ethiopia. The winner of the X Factor is a Filipina, who has been granted permanency to reside in Israel. There are many of these lovely, gentle pro Israel people grateful to be working and living temporarily in Israel, often as carers towards those who need help, many of whom are holocaust survivors.

    Have a happy and rejoice that Israel has such a variety of people, but still Jewis. Not forgetting of course the large Arab and other minorities.

  10. : )
    January 31, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Dear Martin,

    you are so kind.

    Politic is for very special humans and its important that people inside of politic is well connected to the majority of the people. I never use much time on people like Peres or Obama, I see the character and then focuse people that can present him/her self as a better option and talk to others I know if this is the a person more people believe in.
    Still there is so many people that look for a strong leader in a democracy, instead of understanding where they are and where they can go as a individual. A democracy will never be perfect : )

    Ok now I think you are in the right mood to accept reality, Frp is a normal Norwegian sosial democratic party:–interessant-snuoperasjon-fra-frp-1.11508717

    Siv Jensen I like her, she use more her stomach feeling than any other in politic and she has many interesting friends, please don’t be angry with her Martin.

    And look at this Martin:

    What a lady


    Have lovely day Martin : ) Shabbat Shalom

    Now McG I take a Shabbat, see you on saturday evening : ) Hope the children behave and don’t dans on a table and drink to much wine and the write on the web.

    Lovely Shabbat Shalom to you McG : )

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