European Friends of Israel

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European Friends of Israel (EFI) is a Brussels-based organization of European parliamentarians whose stated mission is "forging a stronger political relationship and a deeper understanding between Europe and Israel." Established in September 2006 by 300 MEPs and national MPs, it aims to bring together every national parliamentary friendship group with Israel from the EU 27 Member States, together with the friendship group with Israel within the European Parliament. EFI has been consistently working across the EU and member states to monitor all legislation that impacts Israel and has supported many initiatives which help Israel exist within safe and secure borders. Its chairman is Marek Siwiec.

In 2007, EFI led 3 separate missions to EU member states. During a 2 days mission to Portugal in January, EFI’s team met with the newly Portuguese Parliamentary Friendship Group with Israel.[1] In Spain in February it met many high-level politicians from the leading political factions.[2] In May EFI met many Members of the Maltese parliament and other foreign officials.[3]

On the 5th of June 2007, EFI led a delegation composed of 16 Members of the European Parliament and Members of National Parliaments from 11 different European nationalities to a three-day mission in Israel.[4] The program included a wide range meetings and activities among which were meetings with the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tsipi Livni and other high-ranking Israeli officials.

On the occasion of the European Holocaust Remembrance Day (26-27 of January 2008), EFI organized a 2-day Mission to Auschwitz.[5] The Delegation was composed of Members of the European Parliament, Members of the EU Member States' Parliaments as well as Members of the Knesset.

EFI has also held multiple conferences in the European Parliament dealing with many important issues on the Israeli-European agenda:

On the 29th of November 2006, EFI held a press conference which dealt with "why the 3 Israeli Kidnapped Soldiers are not being released?" The Press Conference followed a private meeting between the representatives of the families of the three Israeli kidnapped soldiers and Members of the European Parliament who expressed their support for the families of the three Israeli kidnapped soldiers, Gilad Shalit, Udi Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.[6]

On the 7th of March 2007, it held a conference calling for "Economic Sanctions against Iran".[7]

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Israel, EFI in collaboration with other organizations such as B'nai B'rith, Peres Center for Peace and the Israeli Mission to the EU organized different activities within the European Parliament. The activities consisted of multiple workshops, conferences and panels on different topics regarding Israel and its relations with the European Union.[8]

On the 6/7 November 2008, The EFI Policy Conference gathered together hundreds of Parliamentarians and high-officials from 42 different European countries, including Members of the European Parliament, Members of the Council of Europe as well as Members of the Knesset.[9] The gathering aimed to promote a better understanding between Europe and Israel and called for an upgrade in relations between the two.[10]

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