Finland–Israel relations

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Finland-Israel relations
Map indicating locations of Finland and Israel



Israel-Finland relations are diplomatic, commercial and cultural ties between Finland and Israel. Finland maintains an embassy in Tel Aviv and Israel maintains an embassy in Helsinki. Both countries are full members of the Union for the Mediterranean.


A demonstration in the square Narinkka in central Helsinki in support of the State of Israel.

Bilateral relations between Finland and Israel was laid before the establishment of the State of Israel. Finnish President Paasikivi announced de facto recognition of Israel on 11 June 1948, a month after Israel's declaration of independence. Finland officially recognized the State of Israel on March 18, 1949 and diplomatic relations were established on November 14, 1950. Finland opened its embassy in Tel Aviv in 1952 and Israel opened its embassy in Helsinki in 1956.[1]

The first Finnish diplomatic representative to Israel was Toivo Kala, who presented his letter of accreditation to Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett. Sharett told Kala that he admired Finland's readiness to defend its rights and its efforts to rebuild after the war.[1]

Today, Finland and Israel have strong cultural and scientific ties, and some 10,000 Finns visit Israel every year.[1]

Economic relations[edit]

In 2005, Finnish exports to Israel totaled 155.24 million euros and imports from Israel to Finland totaled 95.96 million euros. Israel imports Finnish machinery, telecommunications equipment, wood, paper products and chemical industry products. Israel's leading exports to Finland are telecommunications equipment and machinery, and Israeli fruits and vegetables.[2]

In 2004, a joint Finland-Israel Technology (FIT) cooperation program was created for research and development projects in the field of ICT. The Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Research and Innovation, allocated five million euros each for the funding of projects.[2]

The Finland Israel Trade association serves as an intermediary between Finnish and Israeli companies in order to create new business contacts. It helps to organize business missions to Israel and hosts business missions from Israel.[3]

Cultural ties[edit]

In 2006, an exhibition on the history of Finland's Jews from the 1830s to the 1970s opened at Beth Hatefutsoth in Tel Aviv.[4]

Military ties[edit]

IMI Galil is partially based on Finnish Rk 62 assault rifle, and indeed the machinery used to manufacture the first Galils as well as receivers for the early samples were provided by Valmet,[5] and the FDF's LV141 and LV241 -radios have been manufactured by Tadiran. Certain other systems such as Spike anti-tank missiles have also been bought from Israeli manufacturers.

In January 2014, Finland's defense forces ordered nearly $50 million worth of multi-spectral camouflage technology produced by Israel's Fibrotex corporation.[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]