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Is an Embassy Really Necessary? Israeli–Spanish Relations in the 1960s

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Spanish–Israeli relations expanded across numerous fields throughout the 1960s despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties. For all practical purposes, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a legation in Madrid during the second half of the 1960s, including at least 3 semi-official representatives operating with the full knowledge of Madrid. Clandestinely, a Mossad station worked in liaison with the local intelligence services. Absence of a full-fledged Israeli embassy did not prevent advancing bilateral ties, normalising Jewish affairs in Spain, or preventing both Powers from engaging in official and public occasions or behind the scenes. Systemic pressure, most evident in Madrid’s ascension to GATT, and the need to abide with its rules by liberalising trade with Israel did much to advance Spanish–Israeli bilateral ties in the 1960s. A strong systemic external force also brought change in their relations in the 1980s. The diplomatic breakthrough of January 1986 and establishment of full formal diplomatic relations between the Powers was largely the inevitable result of Spain’s entry into the European Economic Community.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 2, 2015

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