How the relations between Azerbaijan and Israel have developed, in spite of external shocks?
Enrolled for doctoral studies in “Political Theory” at the Academy under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
After the US president Donald Trump has recognised Jerusalem as a capital of Israeli state in December 2017, and inaugurated the new Embassy in Jerusalem in May of this year, the world’s eyes were on the Middle Eastern country. The world community was stunned, which led to the dozens of mixed feelings from various heads of states. Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to be on the side of harsh critics, condemning Trump’s Middle Eastern policy. Immediately, as a chair-country, Turkey has organised an extraordinary meeting of Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), where president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has taken part. 
Such a rapid reaction from the neighbour and ally -Turkey- have risen a few questions in the minds of political experts: What will be official reaction of Baku to the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital? Will Azerbaijan experience a dilemma of choosing between a support towards fellow Muslim countries, as a OIC member-state, and continuing cooperation with the most vital partner in the region – Israel?
Two months after Azerbaijan gained its independence, Israel formally recognised the new state, becoming one of the first states to do so, and established diplomatic ties on April 7, 1992.  Bilateral ties have been expanding ever since, predominantly through cooperation in security matters and energy trade, as well as cultural and educational collaboration.
For half a decade, Israel has been a primary arm and top-technology supplier to Azerbaijan, despite the position of supranational organisations urging to lower the flames in Armenian-Azerbaijani collision over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory. According to President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan had purchased almost 5 billion dollars worth of weaponry and military technology from its Middle
Eastern ally. This sort of agreement has benefited Azerbaijan, as $5 billion contract included the supply of Israel-made “suicide drone”, that uses radio wave to determine an enemy and easily destroy it, a technology that Azerbaijani Military never had an access to. 
On the other hand, Azerbaijan offers to its partner something that the latter is not able to produce – oil. Around 40 percent of Israeli oil imports, which amounts to 40 million barrels annually or 1.5 billion dollars, spawn from Azerbaijan.  What is more, Israeli EAPC pipeline company plans a shipment of Azerbaijani oil, pumped to Turkey through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, via tankers from Turkey to Ashkelon – Israel’s Mediterranean port. By dint of special relationship with Azerbaijan in energy sector, Israel is on the verge of becoming a crude oil transporter to eastern Asia via tankers.
Azerbaijan and Israel have been key regional players for one another, especially through cooperation in the sectors the both states needed the most. Recent intensity in bilateral relations is yet to be further developed as proved by the visit of senior Azerbaijani officials to Tel-Aviv in May of this year, roughly on the day of inauguration of new embassy of the United States in Jerusalem, with a purpose of promoting new ways of economic, business and commercial ties. 
“An enemy of my enemy is my friend”
Azerbaijan’s relations with Israel are not limited to trade and arms import whatsoever. Military cooperation between two states was deepened by the old concept of “an enemy of my enemy is my friend”, as both countries view Iran as regional antagonist. Officials from Tehran are viewing this military relationship as a threat to Iran’s security, as Azerbaijan is vital for Mossad’s data gathering.
Anti-Iranian operation through Azerbaijan’s soil has reached a peak in March 2012, when according to some sources, Israel has been planning an offensive on Iran’s nuclear and military sites.
According to Kuwaiti newspaper “Al-Jarida”, Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence Agency, has been successfully moving ‘Iranian Nuclear Documents’ through Azerbaijan.  As Iran is a common sense of threat for both Azerbaijan and Israel, Mossad’s increasing cooperation in the sphere of military intelligence is an integral part of Israel’s regional policy in the coming years.
Pro-Israeli policy as Azerbaijan’s Weapon in Washington
For over a decade, Azerbaijan and Israel have experienced good friendship, whilst Azerbaijan became one of few Muslim states to strengthen support towards the state of Israel. Opposing to many Arab and Muslim nations, Azerbaijan has never tried to downplay or hide its strong ties with Israel, on contrary, it has openly celebrated it, utilising it to strengthen positions in D.C. Azerbaijan benevolence towards Israel, and local Jewish communities significantly increased its influence in Washington.
According to New York Rabbi Marc Scheiner, who has been an active promoter of a dialogue and piece between Muslim states and Israel, “Azerbaijan has successfully become one of the darlings of American-Jewish leadership”, largely thanks to country’s immense support for Israel.  American-Jewish organisations have had a strong lobby and ties to the current government, as Jewish conservative groups, such as the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations and the Zionist Organisation of America, are going all-in on Trump. A notable moment occurred, when the embassy of Azerbaijan to the US, organised Hanukkah celebration at the Trump International Hotel, where close to 200 people – mainly members of the strong Jewish community attended.  As Jewish-American community leaders believe, Azerbaijan have set an example to wider Muslim world, that celebration of strong ties with Israel undoubtedly leads to respect and support of the American congress.
What is more, support of officials from Baku to the Jewish evangelicals grants Azerbaijan an access to one of the most influential religious and political groups of today’s America. Lets not forget, that president Ilham Aliyev have had a meeting with top pro-Israeli pastors right before his speech at the UN General Assembly, which indicated the importance of American-Jewish Lobby for the interests of Azerbaijan.
“…an excellent relationship and warm friendship” and the fiasco of Armenian lobby in Israel
During his visit to Azerbaijan in December 2016, Prime Minister Netanyahu called the bilateral relations “an excellent relationship and warm friendship”. Indeed, when it comes to Azerbaijani-
Israeli relationship, it has crossed the formal stage of ‘closeness’ long ago and grew into an intimate friendship, even brotherhood, as mentioned by the president Aliyev. Henceforth, bilateral cooperation is actively progressing in such sectors as agriculture, education and tourism as well. For instance, throughout 2018, then number of tourists from Israel is expected to exceed 50,000. 
In virtue of strong bond, Azerbaijani-Israeli relationship has come through a time of crisis, caused by hostile Armenia. For a long period of time, Armenian officials and lobby activists have attempted to undermine Azerbaijani-Israeli ties. Fear of being isolated in the Middle Eastern region is believed to be a primary driving force behind these moves. This policy peaked this year, when as a result of excessive pressure from Armenian lobby in Israel, some Israeli media centres spread false reports about ‘problems’ in military cooperation between Israel and Azerbaijan.  This wave of mendacity was quickly suppressed, as it is not a secret that the former is sees itself as an ally of Iran – the mutual foe of two partnering states.
Discussions and Analyses
Azerbaijan’s stance has been traditional from the very beginning. Baku has recognised the right of Palestinians to have a state of own, and together with fellow Muslim nations, it has recognised eastern Jerusalem as a rightful capital of Palestinians, after Trump’s statement. At the same time, Azerbaijan argues that Israel has to implement the UN resolutions regarding the Palestinian territories, which is a quite logical and rights stance from Azerbaijan, considering that Armenia fails to follow the resolutions regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Nonetheless, during the extraordinary summit of OIC, President Ilham Aliyev avoided any harsh statements addressed to Israel, unlike the neighbouring and allied Turkey. And despite calling for implementation of resolutions, Baku will not breach friendly ties with Tel-Aviv. Additionally, Muslim states have enjoyed quite warm diplomatic ties with Armenia, thus, any condemnation towards Azerbaijan in this regard, is nothing but double standards. Azerbaijan has always opposed the slogan promoted by some states that “Israel is a Zionist community”, in fact, Baku has constantly claimed that Jewish people have right for a state of their own. 
Certainly, Israel is rather realist state, and it could not anticipate a small South-Caucasian state to act completely against the will of some Muslim states, especially allied Turkey; also Israel wont
forget that Azerbaijan is one of the very first Muslim countries to recognise Israel as a state. Both states have to be happy with the today’s level of cooperation, i.e. Israel supplies weapons, and Azerbaijan satisfies nearly half of Israel’s oil demand, which is a huge number.
In addition to extremely favourable trade conditions between the two, Israel will keep Azerbaijan in the list of friends, due to the latter’s cooperation in backing Israel’s status quo against Iran, and
Azerbaijan in turn, will utilise all means of support towards Israeli state, in order to strengthen ties in D.C. through friendly Jewish communities.
In recent times, Azerbaijani-Israeli relations have been going through harsh period of time, due to the excessive amount of pressure from neighbouring states. Trump’s statements, Erdogan’s call for harsh actions towards Israel during OIC meeting, where Azerbaijan is an active member and Armenian attempts of sabotage against the bilateral ties are the developments that were viewed by some hostile regional actors as a process of deterioration of relations. Nonetheless, bilateral relations will keep the same pace of progress in all areas, bringing success to both nations on regional and international level, firstly because both states need each other’s close cooperation on
a broader political perspective, and secondly, due to the fact that the foundation of the ties lies not only on mutual interest in the questions of trade and security, but on the long tradition of Jewish-Azerbaijani Friendship.
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 Lenk, Arthur (April 7, 2007). “15th Anniversary of Israel-Azebraijan Diplomatic Relations” (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
 Middle East Monitor, When Israel starts Looking like Azerbaijan, There’s a Problem, August 18, 2018, retrieved at: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180818-when-israel-starts-looking-like-azerbaijan-theres-a-problem/
 Haaretz, As Tensions With Iran Mount, Officials From Neighbouring Azerbaijan visit Israel, September 13, 2018, retrieved at: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-iran-tensions-azerbaijan-officials-visit-israel-1.6112935
 When Israel starts Looking like Azerbaijan, There’s a Problem, August 18, 2018
 As Tensions With Iran Mount, Officials From Neighbouring Azerbaijan visit Israel, September 13, 2018
 Haaretz, How pro-Israel Jews Became Azerbaijan’s Secret Weapon in Washington, April 29, 2018, retrieved at: https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-how-pro-israel-jews-became-azerbaijan-s-secret-weapon-in-washington-1.6033307
 Azernews, Number of Israeli Tourists visiting Azerbaijan to triple, May 3, 2018, retrieved at: https://www.azernews.az/nation/131410.html
 The Jerusalem Post, Why did Israel Choose Azerbaijan?, September 7, 2017, retrieved at: https://www.jpost.com/Blogs/News-from-Arye-Gut/Why-did-Israel-choose-Azerbaijan-504474
 Azerbaijan will not spoil relations with Israel over Jerusalem: Opinion, December 19, 2017