Esor Ben-Sorek

Black Africans Embracing Israel

With respect to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s probability of being indicted for bribery, he is to be praised for his tireless efforts to reach out to nations on the African continent as well as to Muslim nations in the Middle East and Gulf States. In these efforts he has succeeded in doing what no other Israeli leader had done.

His contacts with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait with whom Israel has no diplomatic relations are brilliant and are successful in opening the paths to a peace agreement, trade and commerce and travel.

Israel has diplomatic relations with 161 countries including the most recent renewal of ties with Chad, a black African Muslim nation. And as a result of his lightning visit to N’Djemani, the neighboring country of Mali, also a Muslim nation, is considering diplomatic relations with Israel.

It is like a dream, a fantasy. Netanyahu has succeeded in opening the doors of black African Muslim nations for the very first time.

And black Africa is embracing Israel.

The question is what purpose does it serve? Neither Chad nor Mali have any products for export or trade that could be beneficial to Israel. On the other hand, Israel can export to those countries methods of strengthening security, provisions of arms, weapons and ammunition, expert advice on use of water for irrigation of crops and development of agriculture…all things sorely needed by many African countries.

In addition, history was made when South Sudan, hostile to Israel, allowed the Israeli Prime Minister’s private plan to fly over its airspace. This was a first on the part of the Sudanese authorities.

Some say that Netanyahu’s efforts to increase diplomatic relations with Africa are intended to put aside for the moment the forthcoming indictment following a hearing in the courts.

It is a feeble approach, in my opinion. While I support the efforts of our esteemed Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit in assembling the evidence against Netanyahu, it would be unkind not to recognize his laborious efforts to strengthen Israel’s role in Africa and the Arab nations.

Muslims are showing hospitality to Prime Minister Netanyahu. They view him as a strong ally against the oppressive regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Revolutionary Guards who constantly make threats to destroy the State of Israel.

With the establishment of relations with Chad and Mali and hopefully with Sudan in the near future, Africans will be arriving in Israel first by the hundreds and then by the thousands.

They will come as tourists to the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem. They will come to shop. They are not coming simply to taste our famous falafel. They want to witness the miracle of the tiny State of Israel, what makes it work, and how possible will it be to import Israeli technology into their countries.

I don’t know what Chad and Mali have to offer Israeli tourists but no doubt, they will come for the adventure.  Israelis love to travel to exotic places.

When all is said and done, when the Attorney General enforces the laws against the Prime Minister, it is doubtful that he will be sent to prison upon his conviction. Ultimately, following the April 9th national elections which he is expected to win, he will have to decide if he should react to the protest of millions of Israelis who will demand that he resign and step down from his post.

Regardless of what his future may hold, all of us, citizens of Israel, owe him a debt of gratitude for his dedicated efforts to embrace Muslim countries and to be, in turn, embraced by them.

Another first-time miracle!

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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