PM Netanyahu during his July 2016 visit to Kenya. (Kobi Gideon/GPO) (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Netanyahu Africa

Related:

Israel’s is seeking to translate its vast support to Africa into diplomatic currency. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a gathering of envoys to Africa on Wednesday that Israel’s top diplomatic goal on the continent is to end their “automatic” vote at the United Nations against the Jewish State and in favor of the Palestinians.

“Africa is as high as it has ever been in the pyramid of our foreign policy interests, except perhaps in the 1960s,” said Netanyahu, who also serves as Israel’s foreign minister. “The first interest is to dramatically change the situation regarding African votes at the UN and other international bodies from opposition to support.”

Africa has moved to an intermediate stage of abstaining, Netanyahu explained, but Israel’s ultimate goal is to change Africa’s voting patterns, “given that the automatic majority against Israel at the UN is composed – first and foremost – of Arab countries.”

Israel has helped Africa technologically in a number of sectors, particularly in agriculture, by introducing techniques such as drip irrigation, which is especially useful in arid climates..

“We do profit somewhat, but I think that our African policy profits no less…This is fine, we have no objection, and this is good for humanity as well. It contributes to our other goals, including our assistance against terror and radical Islam.” Netanyahu said. However, he would like to see such contributions leveraged into diplomatic clout.

“There are 54 countries” in Africa, and “if you change the voting pattern of a majority of them, you at once bring them from one side to the other. You have changed the balance of votes against us at the UN,” Netanyahu explained.

“The day is not far off when we will have a majority there. This sounds imaginary? It is not imaginary at all; anyone can do the simple math. Therefore, this is our goal. We want to erode the opposition and change it to support,” he concluded.

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, he made a historic trip to East Africa, where he 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.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel