JNS.org – Albania is proof that warm Jewish-Muslim ties are possible, Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said during a meeting with Albanian Parliament Speaker Illir Meta on Wednesday.
“Albania is a Muslim country that shows things can be different,” said Edelstein, the Jerusalem Post reported.
While most of Albania’s small Jewish community has immigrated to Israel, the country has a history of warm relations with the Jewish people. During the Holocaust, Albania protected its Jewish community and took in other Jews seeking refuge, and it was one of the few European countries whose Jewish population increased after the war.
“Israel is an advanced country and there is great potential for commerce between us, for investments and for your expertise in technology,” said Meta, who is making his first trip to Israel. “I wrote in your guest book that I am proud to represent Albania in the Knesset, because we saved as many Jews as we could during the Holocaust.”
Traditionally one of Europe’s poorest countries, Albania is currently beginning succession talks with the European Union and opening up its economy. In late June, Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discuss bilateral cooperation.