Israel has opened a new office of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels on Thursday. According to Ynet News, Yair Golan, the Deputy Chief of Staff Major General assisted in the new office’s opening.

As a result of the May 2016 approval by the North Atlantic Council, Israel has opened its first NATO office in Brussels.

This approval also allowed four other non-NATO members- Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait- to open diplomatic missions at its headquarters in Brussels.

The Opening of the Israel Office

The Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller said: “here in NATO, we understand that Israel shares our values, and is an active and beneficial partner for Mediterranean dialogue.” Israel will become a partner of the organization, not a member and Roni Leshno Yaar was approved to be the first Israeli representative to NATO.

In his speech at the opening of the office, he spoke of the importance of strengthening the relationship between NATO and Israel, especially in light of their “joint interests and common threats in the eastern Mediterranean.”

More than 100 people reportedly participated in the opening of the office on Thursday, many of whom were high ranking NATO officials.

Comments on the NATO Office Opening

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had welcomed the decision, saying: “I welcome the NATO statement inviting the State of Israel to open an office at the organization’s headquarters.”

He continued to say: “this is a goal that we have worked on for many years. I announce that Israel will accept the invitation; we will open an office soon. I think that this is also an important expression of Israel’s standing in the world. The countries of the world are looking to cooperate with us due to, inter alia, our determined fight against terrorism, our technological know-how and our intelligence services.”