Hadassah

Israel-African Relations

Wednesday, Sep 6 2017

Israel has been developing and improving connections with African countries over the past few decades. Today, Israel maintains diplomatic relations with 40 of the 48 sub-Saharan countries.  Some very recent initiatives show great promise for building even closer relations. These connections have allowed Hadassah’s Medical Organization to host many successful medical programs in Africa. 

ART Joy Love is HMO’S Program which combats pediatrics HIV/AIDS in Africa.  They recently brought an Israeli Musician and Dancer to teach music and dance to the orphaned children in Kenya, as part of its Love Project.  

An example of Israel and Africa developing relationships is the upcoming Africa-Israel Summit, which will take place in Togo this October. The tag line of the conference is “Building bridges towards great shared prosperity” and will include four days of sharing on economic ties, technology, trade, security, agriculture, and development.  Africa represents an emerging global market, and Israel is a leading exporter of research, medicine, information technology, water technology, and cyber security.  African and Israeli companies will have opportunities to showcase their products and network with companies and investors. Check out www.africaisraelsummit.org for more information.*

As part of Israel’s efforts to strengthen relations with many African countries, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has traveled to Africa twice in the past year. In July 2016, he visited Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. It was the first visit to Africa in 29 years by a sitting Israeli leader. The Uganda visit included a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the hostage situation and Israeli commando raid at the Entebbe airport in which his brother Jonathan was killed.  In June 2017, Netanyahu attended a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Liberia. Israel and ECOWAS have previously signed a declaration of intent for greater cooperation.  At the June meeting, Israel and African nations agreed to cooperation in a variety of areas, including agriculture, water technology, homeland security, culture, and science.  In addition to strengthening business connections, Israel views these increasing cooperative ventures as part of a long-term effort to establish friendlier ties, efforts that could particularly pay off in more favorable votes in the United Nations.

Another sign of increasing Israeli-African cooperation occurred in March 2017 when the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, became the first sitting African head of state to address the AIPAC conference in Washington, DC. Rwanda has agreed to accept refugee seekers who have fled into Israel. At the AIPAC conference, Kagame, who has visited Israel several times, stated “Rwanda is, without question, a friend of Israel.” He expressed his admiration for the way that Israel has survived and flourished after the Holocaust, and compared it to Rwanda surviving the genocide of the 1990’s.

Submitted by,

Dina Lipschultz

Zionist Education co-team leader

* As of 9.12.2017 the Israel- Africa Summit has been canceled following political crisis in Togo and boycotts from 

Pro-Palestinian activists.

Israel – African Relations is one article from the upcoming Women Who Learn August/ September 2017 issue. To receive a copy of the latest issue of Women Who Learn email programming@hadassah.org .

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