Spanish leader of the Conservative Vox party Santiago Abascal has visited Israel amid the “diplomatic crisis” between Spain and Israel.
On December 4, Abascal led a delegation of members from Vox and the influential think tank he chairs, Fundación Disenso.
Vox MEP (ECR Group) Hermann Tertsch and Jorge Martín Frías, Disenso’s director, joined Abascal on a visit to the city of Sderot in Southern Israel and a kibbutz attacked by Hamas terrorists on October 7 .
The group also met with Israeli ministers Amichai Chikli and Avi Dichter, who is also a member of Israel’s War Cabinet.
Abascal said: “The majority of Spaniards felt shame” after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s remarks during and after his visit late last month to Israel with Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo.
The Vox leader stressed his concern during his own two-day visit to the country at what was seen by many as “the applause from Hamas” Sanchez’s arrival there had provoked.
Chikli expressed his gratitude for what he described as “Vox’s visit of solidarity”.
“Our friends saw first-hand the severity of the evil we are facing. Israel is not just the cradle of Europe’s values. It is the wall against radical Islam,” Chikli added.
Abascal’s visit comes in the middle of a diplomatic spat between Spain and Israel.
On November 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recalled his ambassador to Spain after Sánchez had seemingly labelled Israel’s right to self-defence as a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
Eli Cohen, Israel’s foreign minister, said that and other “outrageous” remarks were “baseless accusations”.
The European Commission has signalled no support for Spain in this diplomatic spat and told Brussels Signal the issue was “a bilateral matter” between both countries. The same was said for Belgium and De Croo.
The EC added that the European Union “remains committed to the two-state solution”.
Sánchez announced he would be lobbying for “the recognition of the Palestinian State” during this term in office, which started in August.
While the Socialist’s Spanish Government manages tensions with Israel, Vox said Abascal’s trip “strengthened its close relations” both with Israel and Netanyahu’s Likud party.
The Vox leader is in the process of undertaking an extensive international agenda, observers say.
In late November, Abascal travelled to Strasbourg to warn about “the serious situation in Spain and the constitutional assault of the Government of Sanchez” over its controversial amnesty law for Catalan separatists.
Abascal has also confirmed his attendance at Argentina firebrand Javier Milei’s presidential inauguration on December 10.