Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel wants to partner with Africa, particularly the Economic Community of West African States or ECOWAS, to leap over several generations to technological advancement, security and vibrant agriculture sector for food security.
Mr. Netanyahu, who addressed the 51st Summit of Heads of State of the regional bloc on Sunday, 4 June in Liberia, notes that his coming here as the first sitting Israeli leader in many decades is an expression of a simple truth that Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is returning to Israel.
“It’s the use of technology that allows you to leap over generations; this is leap that Israel can and wants to do with you”, he told the Heads of State, stressing that Africans truly have no better partner in seizing their future than Israel, which is the world’s leader in technology in all fields, including energy, agriculture, public health, water creation, and security.
West Africa, particularly Liberia needs to re-engage Israel in strengthening both diplomatic and bilateral cooperation that would yield mutual benefits. During past administrations, specifically the Doe regime, Israel and Liberia shared several vital interests in the areas of security and construction, among others.
As Prime Minister Natenyahu noted, in this era of global terrorism that continues to take innocent lives, including a Liberian troop on peacekeeping mission in Mali, leaving others wounded, while threatening our borders, the need to tap on Israeli security expertise cannot be overemphasized.
We vividly recall several visits by former Defense Minister Pearson during the Doe regime to Israel to establish and solidify security cooperation, which led to the formation of the elite Special Anti-Terrorist Unit or SATU, though its loyalty to the state was seriously compromised.
We also need the Israeli in the areas of irrigation for agricultural purpose, and health to strengthen our health sector, which faces serious brain drain and lacks appropriate equipment.
We challenge the Sirleaf administration to waste no time in seizing the opportunity proffered by Prime Minister Natenyahu and make follow-up for the benefits of the country and its citizens. Liberia stands to benefit enormously beyond this administration if ties with Israel are strengthened and taken to another level.
As a nation, we would only leap to higher development and improved standard of living if we remain engaged with friendly governments and countries that would buttress our efforts to increase the pace of our national developmental drive, and Israel is providing this opportunity.