While the political focus on expanding the Abraham Accords is primarily directed at Saudi Arabia, Israeli officials are holding confidential talks with another major country—Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation and the fourth-largest democracy, Ynet learned.
The upcoming February 2024 elections for the Indonesian presidency, vice presidency and parliament will be critical to whether Jakarta opts to establish official ties with Jerusalem.
Outgoing Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who has publicly maintained a hostile stance toward Israel during his tenure, will be stepping down after serving the maximum 10-year term.
Current Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who has maintained a hostile public facade toward Israel throughout his tenure, will step down after completing a maximal 10-year term.
Israel does not currently have formal diplomatic relations with Indonesia, but maintains discrete channels of communication with parties interested in improving relations between the two countries. They also engage in trade, tourism and security collaborations.
Meanwhile, the United States is quietly advocating behind the scenes for Indonesia to normalize its relationship with Israel.
Israeli officials are divided on whether Indonesia will normalize relations with Israel before Saudi Arabia, or if it will choose to follow in Riyadh’s footsteps. While some are hopeful for some cautious overtures from Indonesia, others doubt the Indonesians are ready to make such a leap.
One Israeli official also indicated that Indonesia is wary of potential extremist protests and demonstrations, making it more probable that the nation will follow Saudi Arabia's lead rather than act unilaterally. The official added that given the current make-up of the Israeli government, persuading Indonesia to normalize relations would be a challenging endeavor.