Relations between Israel and major Western countries have become increasingly contentious in recent years, owing largely to disagreements over Israel’s approach to its conflict with the Palestinians. Ties with the U.S. and Europe remain of paramount importance to Israel. But the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made a concerted effort to look toward major Asian countries, if not to replace Israel’s traditional European connections, then at least to lessen the country’s diplomatic and economic dependence on the West.
The refocused efforts have started yielding results, most notably in transforming relations with India, China and Japan.
To be sure, Israel sees itself as a Western country, one whose culture and values align more closely with the West than the East. But, it also sees itself as a unique state, facing some challenges that are best understood in the East.