Dr Mike Evans

Israeli Government approves Prime Minister Lapid’s proposal to establish Negev Forum

The Government approved Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s proposal for establishing a regional mechanism called the Negev Forum.

The new agreement will designate that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will coordinate the work in Israel for the Forum. The Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alon Ushpiz, will head the Israeli steering committee and will represent Israel at the multilateral steering committee, according to a statement from Lapid’s office on Sunday.

“The Cabinet decision formalizes and funds the working groups for the Negev Forum, which we established last year together with the US, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt,” Lapid said in his Sunday cabinet meeting. “These working groups will create economic and security links which, just a few years ago, we could not have even dreamed of. We are working together with entrepreneurs in food-tech, water, energy, tourism and climate, increasing trade between our countries, and are holding a dialogue that strengthens Israel’s security.”

The Directors-General of the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Culture and Sport, Energy, Tourism, Health, and Defense will lead the professional work of the Israeli working group, with the participation of the Ministries of Regional Cooperation, Economy, and Finance, according to the statement.

The Negev Summit was held in March 2022, with the foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, the United States, and Israel. A second meeting in June led to the establishment of a regional architecture called the Negev Forum.

The government’s decision will formalize the work of the Forum for advancing the initiative’s goals that include regional stability and security, leading diplomatic and economic cooperation, and connections between the member countries for the welfare of those in the region.

The Negev Forum will act on the basis of six working multilateral groups in the fields of food security and water, energy, tourism, health, education and tolerance, and regional security, according to the newly approved proposal.