“We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.”
These are the words that were written in no uncertain terms in Israel’s Declaration of Independence nearly 71 years ago now. “We extend our hand to ALL neighboring states”. Israel made it clear from the outset that the goal was peace and “good neighborliness”.
Israel’s advancements in military and agricultural technology along with her excellence in the business sector all should have made Israel an invaluable asset to all of her neighbors. This is especially true of those neighboring countries in the Middle East and northern Africa who are in such great need of assistance in the fight against terrorism and water shortages.
In fact, Israel was an asset to a number of African nations in the mid 1900’s until the relationship was complicated by radical Islamic terrorist threats and by anti-Israel policies of Muslim nations such as Libya and organizations such as the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). By the mid 1970’s most of northern Africa with the exception of Ethiopia had officially severed ties with Israel. Israel managed to aid some nations such as Chad, but only through clandestine meetings between the nation’s leaders and assistance that was offered discretely by Israel.
The Arab League and the OIC especially sought to shut Israel off to the world outside of Israel in order to pressure Israel to give up land to what was initially the PLO, a terrorist organization. For Israel, it has been somewhat strange that the OIC has the word “cooperation” as part of the organization’s name since, from the outset, the OIC has sought to destroy any and all cooperation with Israel. The Arab League’s efforts against Israel have also been somewhat ironic since nearly 20% of Israel’s population is Arab (thus making Israel technically as eligible for membership in the Arab League as numerous other Arab minority nations in the Arab League).
Were it not for all of the Islamic interference in Israel’s effort to send aid to African nations, those nations might be much be better off today than they are. In fact, Israel has had quite the commitment to Africa since even before Israel attained her independence in 1948. Already in the late 1800’s Theodore Herzl saw the cause of African peoples seeking independence from European colonial powers as similar to the plight of Israel. Like many African peoples, the Jews were once sold as slaves in a foreign land and those remaining in their homeland had been oppressed by foreign powers and the land laid to waste by foreigners who cared little for it.
This sense of a shared plight was quickly discouraged by Muslim powers who, rather than own up to their own dark history in Africa, have sought to smear Israel’s name in Africa claiming that Israel’s goal is to colonize Africa as the Muslim and European powers once did. One of the most effective means used by Muslim nations to discourage African partnership with Israel was through empty promises of aid and affordable access to oil. The African nations gradually realized that the Arab oil-producing nations were not only unwilling to provide them with promised aid, but were even undermining their economics by maintaining high oil prices. With this realization came the revival of African interest in resuming official ties to Israel since Israel has proven herself again and again through the decades.
Today, relations between African nations and Israel are improving. More and more, African nations are recognizing Israel’s consistent commitment to offer technological, military and business training in order to assist in improving both the living conditions and infrastructure of their nations.
African nations including Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Liberia, and as of this past week, Chad, have now had visits from Israel’s Prime Minister at least once in the past two years. Now, more than ever, there is a great deal of cooperation going on to ensure that Israeli aid finds those who truly need it in Africa.
More and more, African nations are looking at Israel for partnership despite the strong opposition of organizations like the Arab League or the OIC. No bullying or terrorism will be able to keep Israel from continuing to be a blessing in Africa. “The proof is in the pudding” as they say, and Israel has demonstrated that they are ready to help. Surrounding Muslim nations, however, have time and time again demonstrated that they are only willing to offer empty promises in an effort to keep Israel at bay. It won’t work anymore.
Watch out world because as Africa receives much needed education in agriculture and business from Israel, the whole world stands to benefit. We’re going to see African nations flourish and become a powerhouse for new innovations in the world, and this thanks at least in part to the faithfulness of Israel in pursuing relationship with her African neighbors despite all the opposition of the Muslim world.