Norway and Israel have a long history of friendship. Diplomatic relations were established in 1950. A year earlier, in 1949, Norway formally recognized the State of Israel and contributed to the majority vote necessary in the Security Council for admitting Israel as a full member of the UN. The political ties between Norway and Israel are strong, and the Norwegian Foreign Minister holds political consultations with Israel on a regular basis. In 2020 the Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon visited Israel.
It is a stated priority by the Norwegian Government to increase co-operation with Israel, within trade, science, innovation and development.
The value of Norway’s exports to Israel has increased over the years and amounted to close to 2 bill NOK in 2019. Norway exports fish to Israel. 70% of the salmon and 30% of all imported fish comes from Norway. Israel is exporting technology, vegetables and fruits to Norway.
Joint Research projects are financed through the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (Horizon2020) and national programmes.
The Norwegian Pension Fund Global, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, has invested 11,9 billion NOK in shares (84 companies) in Israel, and an additional 1 billion NOK is invested in fixed income (31.12.2019). These are the Fund’s largest investments in the Middle East region.
Norway and Israel also share a joint interest in the oil and gas field, and have a dialogue about how to manage revenues from energy resources.
An increasing number of Norwegian artists, musicians and authors have been visiting Israel, strengthening the bonds between Israel and Norway in the cultural field. Through the year, Israelis can enjoy a variety of Norwegian film, art, music, literature and dance.
Norway is committed to continue its efforts to assist the Israelis and the Palestinians in achieving a negotiated agreement fulfilling the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Norway chairs the Donor Coordination Group (the AHLC), where both Parties participate.
Norway and Israel are also in dialogue on military and defense issues. From September 2013, the Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv was reinforced with a defense attaché to Israel. Norway is contributing to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai and to UN forces in the region.
Approximately 600 Norwegians are living in Israel, many of them Israeli-Norwegian families. Over the years, numerous Norwegians have visited Israel as kibbutz volunteers, as UN personnel, as students, as business representatives or as tourists.