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Netanyahu hosts Kenyan president, says east African state could become gateway for international trade with the continent

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Kenyan President William Ruto, May 9, 2023 (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently hosted Kenya’s president, William Ruto, in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu praised the bilateral Kenyan-Israeli relations and said the east African state had the potential of becoming a commercial gateway for international trade with the African continent.

“Kenya could serve as a gateway for trade and international cooperation with the rest of Africa,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli premier reportedly also praised Ruto’s “commitment to advancing bilateral relations and his actions to strengthen regional stability.” 

Kenya and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1963. Israel maintains an embassy in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, while the Kenyan embassy is located in Tel Aviv.

In the 1960s, Israel’s legendary late Foreign Minister Golda Meir promoted Israeli civilian aid to Kenya and many other African countries. Following the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and political pressure from Arab nations, Kenya and most African states severed their diplomatic relations with the Jewish state. However, during the famous Israeli rescue operation at Entebbe airport in Uganda in 1976, Kenya permitted Israeli airplanes to use an airport in Nairobi. Yonatan Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister’s older brother, died while leading the Israeli rescue operation.

Kenyan-Israeli relations have improved dramatically in recent years.

In 2013, the Jewish state sent military experts to assist Kenyan forces who were fighting Islamist terrorists from Somalia at the Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital.

Many Christians in Africa support the Jewish state and identify with the shared Judeo-Christian heritage.

In February, Jonathan Feldstein reported in ALL ISRAEL NEWS that Christians across Africa prayed for Israel to be admitted as a member in the African Union.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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