Israel ambassador bids farewell to 'anti-semitic' Spain
Israel's ambassador in Madrid described the "hatred and anti-semitism" he had experienced during his four years in Spain, in a message post on the embassy website Saturday.
Raphael Shutz said that his four years in Spain had included some difficult moments.
He cited Israel's January 2009 assault on the Palestinian-held Gaza Strip, which provoked an international outcry; and the May 2010 commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy in which nine Turkish activists were killed.
In addition, he said, "...the fact of having personally experienced the hate and the anti-semitism that exists in Spanish society is something that I take away with me."
But he stressed too, that he had also had many positive experiences.
Last month, as Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki visited Madrid, Spain called for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks and a two-state solution to the conflict.
In February, Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez made her first visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, in a trip marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
"Relations between our two countries are just beginning," said Shutz in his message Saturday.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries were first established in January 1986 after centuries of hostility following the publication of a royal order expelling the Jews from Spain in 1492.
The edict of expulsion was formally nullified 500 years later at an official ceremony in March 1992 which was attended by the Spanish king and then Israeli president Haim Herzog.
© 2011 AFP