Netanyahu told the visiting Belgian prime minister that Israel stands at the forefront of preventing a flow of “many more millions” of refugees into Europe.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel is preventing an even worse refugee crisis than the one Europe is currently facing, during a press conference on Tuesday with visiting Belgian counterpart Charles Michel.
“I think in a larger sense, Prime Minister, it’s important to recognize that Israel is the strongest force in the Middle East that prevents the collapse of the Western part of the Middle East,” Netanyahu said. “If that were to happen, we would have untold misery to many, many more millions of residents of the Middle East and a great increase flow to Europe.”
Since the fall of 2015, Many European countries have absorbed a wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the civil wars in the Middle East, particularly from countries like Syria and Libya where the governments no longer have full control over their respective territories. European countries like Belgium have seen an uptick in terror threats ever since.
Israel has been somewhat of an island of stability in the Middle East since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2011, in which uprisings throughout the region destabilized a number of the Muslim countries in Israel’s neighborhood. Many Islamist groups capitalized on such uprisings.
“I think in this sense, Israel is doing an important service for the peoples of Europe, including Belgium,” Netanyahu added. “Israel has been at the forefront of the countries that fight militant Islam.”