In another show of Israel’s developing diplomatic relations, Jamaica’s’ prime minister became the first holder of his office to visit the Jewish state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday welcomed to Jerusalem Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the first holder of his office to visit Israel.
“I think this is the first visit ever by a prime minister of Jamaica to Israel, so it has a double significance for us,” Netanyahu said during their joint appearance.
Holness later tweeted that he was “pleased to be the first Jamaican prime minister to visit Israel. There are numerous opportunities for cooperation between us.”
Netanyahu thanked Jamaica for not supporting “the absurd vote in UNESCO” in October which denied Jewish historical claims to the Temple Mount. The Israeli leader said that he looked forward to greater cooperation with the Caribbean nation “in a variety of fields that relate to economy, to security, to technology. This is something that we eagerly are interested in doing with you.”
Netanyahu also spoke to Holness of the values shared by the two nations. “There is a natural affinity between us. We’re both democracies. We each have our own challenges but we flourish under challenge. And we’ll be able, I think, to provide a better future for our people if we cooperate, and this visit is a hallmark of cooperation,” he said.
Finally, Netanyahu thanked Holness for his invitation to visit Jamaica and indicated that he intended to do so “sometime in the future.”
Holness expressed interest in expanding ties with the Jewish state, especially in the areas of cybersecurity and agriculture. He expressed his condolences over the four IDF soldiers who were murdered in a truck-ramming attack by a Palestinian terrorist on Sunday, saying, “we do extend our sympathies to the people of Israel for the very unfortunate attack on your soldiers recently.”
Israel’s Flourishing Diplomatic Ties
In his address to AIPAC last March, Netanyahu observed that Israel has “diplomatic relations with 161 countries, more than at any time in our history.”
Last July, Netanyahu visited Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Weeks later, the Republic of Guinea, a Muslim-majority African nation, restored diplomatic ties with Israel after a 49-year break.
Israel has a long history of sharing its expertise with African countries, and Jerusalem hopes that stronger ties will lead to a shift in voting trends at the UN and other global forums, thus reversing what Netanyahu called “the automatic majority against Israel.”
In December, following huge brushfires that swept throughout Israel, Netanyahu met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and announced the formation of a regional emergency response force for natural disasters.
Also that month, Netanyahu made trips to the Asian Muslim-majority nations of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. The prime minister plans to visit the South Pacific, including stops in Fiji, Australia and Singapore, in the coming months.
More covertly, Israeli officials have intimated several times that Israel has secret ties with several Arab countries in the Middle East.
By: The Tower and United with Israel Staff
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