July 20, 2016
The Israel-Kazakhstan Partnership – Samuel Ramani (The Diplomat)
On July 5, 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to make an official trip to Kazakhstan. His visit to Astana underscores the increasing importance of Kazakhstan to Israel’s geopolitical ambitions. In November 2015, Israel entered into a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Kazakhstan is likely to be the chief beneficiary of Israel’s closer EEU linkages, because of its neutral stance in the Israel-Palestine conflict and staunch opposition to radical Islamist movements.
Israel’s strategic partnership with Kazakhstan can be explained by a myriad of economic and security factors. Kazakhstan is a vital oil supplier to Israel and Israel has contributed greatly to Kazakhstan’s economic diversification efforts. Israel’s provisions of military technology and counterterrorism assistance to Kazakhstan have resulted in Kazakhstan becoming one of Israel’s closest security partners in the Muslim world.