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Israeli Defense Minister Liberman Makes Historic Visit To Africa

Avigdor Liberman became the first-ever Israeli defense minister to visit Rwanda, his initial stop on a four-day visit to Africa that will also take him to Tanzania and Zambia. “Rwanda and Israel share a desire for a better future for their citizens, cooperation, and partnerships that are being built,” Liberman told Rwandan President Paul Kagame, adding that “relations between the two countries are stronger and deeper than ever.” While in the capital Kigali, Israel’s defense chief also met with his counterpart James Kabarebe and Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo. The trip comes amid widespread criticism of the Israeli government’s planned deportation—which recently was put on hold by a High Court ruling—of tens of thousands of African migrants from the Jewish state to unnamed third countries, widely believed to be Rwanda and Uganda. Jerusalem has long supplied African states with arms, technological know-how and humanitarian assistance. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made strengthening ties with the continent a diplomatic priority and has traveled there three times over the past two years.

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