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Israel Neutral On Catalonian Independence—Angering Spain

(JTA) — Diverging with the United States and the European Union, Israel has decided it would neither to support nor oppose Catalonian independence, an Israeli news website reported.

Spain on Friday requested that Israel align itself with many other Western nations in rejecting a vote declaring independence, according to the report Monday on nrg.

But senior Israeli diplomats decided in internal talks to neither oppose nor support the declared independence of Catalonia, which Spain says is illegal and anti-constitutional, nrg reported.

Madrid’s efforts to keep the country united have the continued support of the U.S. government, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

According to the report, Israel’s neutrality is a reaction to hostility in international forums by Spain, which is a major funder of anti-Israel organizations and often has criticized Israel’s actions in the Israeli-Arab conflict more harshly and vocally than other countries in the European Union.

Additionally, support for Israel is seen as more prevalent in Catalonia than in many other regions of Spain, a federal kingdom of 17 semi-autonomous regions, according to the report.

In 2014, Spain’s congress voted in favor of a motion supporting Palestinian statehood. Unlike similar votes in Britain, France and Belgium, the Spanish motion of support was contingent on the completion of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. That was seen as a diplomatic victory for Israel.

In recent years, the Spanish judiciary has cracked down on state bodies adopting a boycott policy against Israel, scrapping those motions as anti-constitutional and discriminatory. Spain has the largest number of such municipalities in Europe.

The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, or FCJE, on Friday stated that it was opposed to the Catalan secessionist efforts.

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