President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday to discuss strengthening the relationship between Israel and the EU.

“I came to Israel to make our unique partnership even stronger, by deepening our bilateral cooperation on many topics, from energy to health and innovation,” she said.

“Let’s work together to address the challenges that we face, in the region and worldwide,” she added.

“The Jewish people in Europe share a long history. Today we can look forward knowing that Europe is in the hands of leaders such as [von der Leyen] who understand the weight and responsibility and take firm action in the face of antisemitism,” Bennett said.

Addressing von der Leyen, he added: “Your words today at Ben Gurion University were powerful. You said Israel and Europe are bound to be friends and allies because the history of Europe is the history of the Jewish people. I could not agree more.”

Bennett mentioned that potential for famine that could destabilize the world was an issue that he and von der Leyen would be discussing, including “ways in which the EU and Israel can cooperate on food security, energy and more.”

“We want to boost our energy cooperation with Israel," von der Leyen said. "The European Union was the biggest, most important client from the supply from Russia, but with the [war in Ukraine] and the attempt by Russia to blackmail us be deliberately cutting energy supplies, we decided to get rid of the dependancy on Russian fossil fuels. It is for us very important that we are now discussing that [Israel] is willing to increase the deliveries of gas to the EU via Egypt."

She noted that on Wednesday, they will sign a trilateral memorandum of understanding with Israel, the EU and Egypt to “help step up the deliveries of energy to Europe.”

She added that Israel has “in abundance all the resources that are necessary for renewables, sun, and wind and other resources. Therefore, I’m very much looking forward to intensifying the cooperation on that field.”

To protect the world from a major food crisis – which she blamed on Russia’s war in Ukraine, noting 20 million tons of grain are trapped in Ukraine – she said the EU was doing its best to get the grain out of Ukraine, to ramp up UE production and to support their neighbors.

“But we have to look to the long-term and here Israel can play a tremendously important role because you have unique expertise in innovating resource efficient agriculture,” she said. “Today the world desperately needs these technologies to have a shift where food dependency is concerned.”

She concluded her remarks by saying the EU condemned recent terror attacks.

“We see you as a crucial partner is pursing the objective [of a stable Middle East]. I want to commend you on the normalization of relations with some of your Arab neighbours, the Abraham Accords. This is a big step forward. And in time I hope it could help advance relations between Israel and the Palestinians.”