July 7, 2015Prime Minister Netanyahu speaking at the Ethiopian Parliament -source Prime Minister of Israel page on Facebook
In what is said to be for the first time in decades, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu visited Ethiopia today. Ethiopia is the final leg of his trip to Africa.
Before visiting Ethiopia, Netanyahu visited Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya.
According to information on The Prime Minister of Israel facebook page, his visit to Africa has the objective of
“improving and strengthening relations with African countries”
In Ethiopia, Netenyahu met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne and President Mulatu Teshome. The talk apparently focused on economic partnership.
During an economic forum that Neteneyahu attended in the Ethiopian Capital Addis Ababa, he is quoted as saying “I have really come here to suggest to you a simple thing, actually to ask you to do one thing: invest in Ethiopia, invest in Africa. And I say to our Ethiopian friends: invest in Israeli know-how, invest in Israeli companies. This is a partnership made in heaven. It has a long history, but more importantly, it has a brilliant future. Invest in each other…”
Israel has over a $billion dollar investment in Ethiopia in the mining sector.
Natenyahu is also seeking an observer position within African Union. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne took no time to support the idea for Israel to have an observer position within African Union.
Netanyahu also discussed the issue Bete Israelite – Ethiopian Jews. He disclosed his intent to resume Ethiopian Aliyah program which is said to start very soon.
Thousands of Ethiopian Jews are settled in Israel through aliyah program which took place towards the end of the Colonel mengistu’s military government.
Many Ethiopian Jews serve in Israeli defense force. Yet, Ethiopians in Israel in general experience discrimination and racist treatment. A few years ago,there was a report that Ethiopian Jews were even subjected to compulsory birth control injection.
Last year, Ethiopian Jews stood up vigorously to challenge mistreatment and racist experience after Israeli Defense Force member of Ethiopian Jews was attacked by two policemen.
It does not seem to be the case that Ethiopian authorities raised the issue to discuss it with prime minister Netanyahu.