December 19, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Receives First Permanent Singaporean Ambassador

December 19, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Receives First Permanent Singaporean Ambassador

Latest Developments

Singapore has appointed its first permanent ambassador to Israel. After more than half a century of bilateral ties between the two countries, Ambassador Ian Mack, a career diplomat, presented his credentials on December 19 to Israeli President Isaac Herzog. He will work out of the Singaporean Embassy that opened in Tel Aviv last year. The Pacific city-state was previously represented in Israel by a consulate and a string of non-resident ambassadors.

“The opening of the embassy in Israel and the appointment of Ambassador Mack will bolster the positive and important relations between the countries and expand our cooperation,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

Shortly after its founding as a republic in 1965, Singapore established discreet ties with Israel, which were formally declared in 1969. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) quickly became a model for the conscription-based Singapore Armed Forces, and Israel became a significant supplier of military technologies.

But even as they hosted an Israeli embassy, the Singaporeans long preferred to keep the relationship low-key, mindful of potential tensions with surrounding Muslim Asian countries. In recent years, Israel-Singapore ties have branched out into civilian realms like technology, conservation, and education.

Expert Analysis

“Singapore has for decades been a steadfast friend of Israel, arguably its most important in Asia. That this friendship has now become full-fledged, especially at the height of the Gaza war, is a welcome sign of the degree to which Israel’s prominence is recognized and accepted abroad. It is to be hoped that Singapore will eventually serve as a springboard for Israeli normalization with Muslim Asian countries.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The ambassadorial announcement serves as a reminder that Gaza could have become the Singapore of the Middle East, a successful coastal enclave, had Hamas invested in developing the economy instead of developing rockets and tunnels.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

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Did Hamas just prove the Abraham Accords right?” by Natalie Ecanow

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