The peoples of Belarus and Israel are linked by a common centuries-old history. Natives of Belarus made a significant contribution to the formation and development of the State of Israel, while numerous representatives of Belarusian Jewry played a significant role in the development of the economy, science and culture of Belarus. All this has become a solid foundation for respectful and trusting relations between the two states.
Jews have been living in Belarus for over 6 centuries and are an integral part of the ethnic structure of the Belarusian society. The first and third Israeli presidents — Chaim Weizman and Zalman Shazar, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir (served twice as Prime Minister), ninth President Shimon Peres, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda – one of the pioneers of the revival of the Hebrew language, artist Mark Chagall and many other famous Jewish figures were born in Belarus.
The Belarusian and Jewish peoples are united by the common pain of World War II: about 850 thousand Jews died on the territory of Belarus. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the countries have been actively cooperating in perpetuating the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, conferring the title of Righteous Among the Nations to the citizens of Belarus (as of January 1, 2020, more than 669 Belarusians who sheltered Jews during the war years have been identified as Righteous Among the Nations), naming streets and squares in honor of the heroes of those tragic events, erecting monuments to famous natives from Belarus and the brightest representatives of Belarusian Jewry. The participation in this process of the highest officials of states testifies to similar views on the Second World War.
Today there are about 130 thousand natives from Belarus are living in Israel, while in Belarus are about 14 thousand of Jews (50-60 thousand according to the Jewish Agency “Sokhnut”).
Days of national culture are periodically practiced between countries.
Israeli representatives regularly participate in international festivals held on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, such as “Slavianski Bazaar”, “Wreath of Friendship” and others.
The representative offices of Jewish agencies “Sokhnut” and “Joint” are established in Belarus. There are also acting Belarusian Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities, Jewish Religious Association, Israeli Cultural Center under the Embassy of the State of Israel.
The Israel-Belarus Center for Business and Cultural Relations has been opened in Israel.
An active cross-cultural dialogue between the two countries helps Belarusians and Israelis get to know each other better. Therefore, there is a need for further interaction and mutual enrichment.