A Quarter-Century of Good Relations between Vietnam and Israel Have Benefitted Both Countries

Aug. 15 2018

In 1993—with the cold war finally over—Jerusalem and Hanoi first established diplomatic relations. Alon Levkowitz takes stock of what the ensuing economic and security ties have wrought:

Vietnam is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an organization of ten states and almost 650 million people . . . that has developed into an important economic player in Southeast Asia over the years. Diplomatic and economic relations with Vietnam allow Israel to improve trade not just with other ASEAN members with which it has diplomatic relations, but also with states with which it does not. Vietnam has become a channel through which Israel can trade with the Muslim world in the region without facing political and ideological barriers. Improving trade with Vietnam will also help Israel gain access to other states beyond Southeast Asia with which Hanoi has diplomatic relations. . . .

Current trade between Israel and Vietnam is around $1.1 billion, with the potential to reach $1.5 billion. Vietnamese officials estimate that in the coming years, trade between Israel and Vietnam could double to $3 billion. Trade between Israel and Vietnam is not limited to the civilian sector. The two states cooperate in the defense sector as well. The Israeli defense advantage offers valuable solutions to the security challenges Vietnam faces.

This is one of the reasons why Israel and Vietnam are negotiating a free-trade agreement. . . . Last year, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin visited Vietnam with a large delegation of Israeli businessmen, a strong indicator of the importance Israel places on relations with Vietnam. Hanoi recently sent a delegation to Israel to learn how Israel’s “start-up nation” ethos could be implemented back home. Israeli-Vietnamese relations have huge economic and diplomatic potential that should be exploited, including in the more complicated and delicate political-diplomatic arena.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Israeli economy, Reuven Rivlin, Southeast Asia, Vietnam

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam