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'We Have so Much to Learn from Israel'

Prominent Serbian politician visits Israel for the first time; says the Jewish state shows how to 'fight for national dignity and freedom'.
By Michael Freund
First Publish: 1/18/2014, 6:37 PM

Aleksandar Vulin at the Serbian embassy in Tel Aviv
Aleksandar Vulin at the Serbian embassy in Tel Aviv
Michael Freund

Aleksandar Vulin, a prominent Serbian politician who serves as his country’s Minister in charge of Kosovo affairs, arrived in Israel on Friday for a three-day visit.

“I feel great joy being here in Israel. It is my first official visit,” he told Arutz Sheva upon his arrival.

Vulin stressed that Serbs and Jews share a long history of living together and noted that they suffered together during the Holocaust, remarking that he sees the Jewish state as a moral beacon.

In World War II, Croatian fascists known as the Ustashe allied themselves with the Nazis and committed genocide against tens of thousands of Jews and hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs

“Quite often I use Israel as an example of how one should fight for his national dignity and for freedom,” he said..  

During his stay, Vulin will deliver a lecture at the Truman Institute at Hebrew University and meet with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Zev Elkin.

“One of the reasons I am here,” Vulin said, “is to see and to learn more than just what one reads in the newspapers. We have so much to learn from Israel.”

He described Serbian-Israel relations as “very good”, and expressed gratitude for Israel’s principled refusal to recognize the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence.

Accompanied by Serbian ambassador to Israel Milutin Stanojevic and Consul Milica Vujovic, Vulin visited the grave of Ariel Sharon, “as a sign of our respect for him”.

As Foreign Minister in 1999, Sharon voiced opposition to NATO’s bombing of Serbia.