Celebrations in Catalonia after independence declaration
Celebrations in Catalonia after independence declarationReuters

Breaking with the stance of other Western countries, Israel decided on Monday not to express an official opinion on the issue of Catalan independence in the meantime, NRG reported.

According to the report, Spain asked Israel over the weekend to publicly declare that it does not support Catalan independence, as part of Spain’s efforts to garner international consensus on the matter.

Israel’s ambivalence is a departure from the opposition to Catalan independence declared by the EU and US. On Friday, US State Dept. spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement that “Catalonia is an integral part of Spain, and the United States supports the Spanish government’s constitutional measures to keep Spain strong and united.”

According to NRG, the reasons for Israel’s move are twofold: First, Catalonia is seen as a pro-Israel region, with Israeli flags a common sight on Catalan homes - notwithstanding the Barcelona municipality’s recent adoption of BDS measures.

Second, Israel is fed up with Spain’s anti-Israel stance of many years. This attitude was manifested in comments made by Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan during the Spanish crackdown on the Catalan referendum: “For many years, Spain lectured us about how we need to give [national] rights to the Palestinian Arabs,” wrote Ben-Dahan on Twitter. “Today we see their hypocrisy, as [Spain] doesn’t even allow the Catalans to hold a referendum on independence.”

On the other hand, officials quoted by NRG noted that Israel has also not expressly sided with Catalonia, likely so as not to pay a price for departing too drastically from international consensus.