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Rabbi and Israeli ambassador meet Zimbabwe’s president

  • DavidSaksSilberhaft
Gershon Kedar, Israel’s non-resident ambassador to Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana, was one of six international envoys who presented their accreditations to Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Harare last Thursday.
by DAVID SAKS | Apr 19, 2018

Kedar was accompanied by Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, spiritual leader, rabbi to South African Country Communities and CEO of the African Jewish Congress (AJC). It was the first formal meeting between Jewish leaders and Mnangagwa since the latter’s dramatic unseating of the country’s former long-serving president, Robert Mugabe, last November.

Silberhaft took the opportunity to speak about the Zimbabwean Jewish community, which continues to be active despite its diminished numbers. Its members had welcomed Mnangagwa’s new direction and pledged their support to him in this regard, Silberhaft said.

The AJC was happy to be the conduit through which to facilitate meetings with the Jewish community in future, he added.

Silberhaft also spoke briefly about the significance of Yom Hashoah – which happened to fall on the same day as Kedar’s accreditation – to the Jewish people.

Ambassador Kedar said Israel was willing and able to assist Zimbabwe in addressing its current challenges, and invited the president to tell him in what areas it might do so. Mnangagwa recognised Israel’s many achievements, commenting that there, Jews had found a desert and created a green country, whereas Zimbabweans had found a green country and created a desert.

Nevertheless, Mnangagwa stressed, Mugabe continued to be regarded as the “father of the nation” and was respected as such.

The discussion also touched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the need to resolve it. Kedar said his government was committed to finding a solution and was working hard to achieve it.

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