Muslim-majority Kosovo forges ties with Israel; will open embassy in Jerusalem

First Muslim state to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; ceremony held via Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions; Ashkenazi says Pristina’s mission likely to open in the spring

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi signs a joint declaration establishing ties with Kosovo during an official ceremony held over Zoom with his counterpart from Kosovo, Meliza Haradinaj Stublla, onscreen, at the Israeli Foreign Ministry headquarters in Jerusalem on February 1, 2021. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Israel and Kosovo formally established diplomatic ties on Monday, with the Muslim-majority territory also recognizing Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital — putting it at odds with the rest of the Islamic world.

In a ceremony held over Zoom in Jerusalem and Pristina, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his counterpart from the Republic of Kosovo, Meliza Haradinaj Stublla, signed a joint declaration establishing ties.

Travel restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of Ben Gurion Airport, made an in-person ceremony impossible.

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