Almog, Orna. “Unlikely Relations: Israel, Romania and the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Accord.” Middle Eastern Studies (early view; online first).
The history of Israel’s turbulent relations with the Eastern bloc nations during the Cold War has one exception, Romania. Unlike other Warsaw Pact members, Romania did not sever relations with Israel following the 1967 war. Central to these relations was Romanian Communist leader Nicolai Ceausescu, who managed to establish himself as an important figure among both Arabs and Israelis. This article will examine Romanian–Israeli relations during the 1970s and especially Ceausescu’s role in the Egyptian–Israeli peace negotiations. Recent Israeli and some Romanian documents released from the Israeli State Archive and the Begin Centre reveal much about Israel’s attitude towards Romania and Ceausescu’s involvement in the Middle East, and serve to shed light on a heretofore neglected aspect of Israeli foreign policy. Some of the main issues to be addressed are Ceausescu’s influence on Egyptian and Israeli decision makers, Israel’s prime motives in maintaining a close relationship with Romania, the importance of Romanian Jewry’s position to Israel’s policy vis-à-vis Romania and the extent to which these relations represented a back channel that facilitated some contact with the Kremlin. All these will be examined against the larger backdrop of the Cold War and the Arab–Israeli conflict.