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Israeli government minister welcomed by top SA ministers

  • HanegbiANC2
Israeli Minister for Regional Co-operation, Tzachi Hanegbi, was welcomed by, and held meetings with, top government ministers on his whistle-stop trip to South Africa this week.
by STAFF REPORTER | Nov 09, 2017

He met with South African Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe and Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa and former Minister of Housing Tokyo Sexwale.

This was a great step forward in relations between the Israeli and South African governments. Hanegbi is the first Israeli minister to hold ministerial meetings in South Africa in the last five years, his office told the Times of Israel.

His meeting with Molewa was significant, both in the context of what Israel can do to help South Africa’s water problems, but also in that she heads up the ANC’s Foreign Affairs portfolio and convened the International Relations Commission at the ANC Policy Conference in July. It was there that the issue of downgrading the Israeli embassy came up.

Hanegbi is familiar with the South African political landscape, having in the past met with South African representatives in the Middle East. He was invited to South Africa to be guest speaker at two local Jewish communal events, but made time to hold these ground-breaking meetings before he left.

Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Lior Keinan - who attended the meetings with Hanegbi - was very pleased with how it had gone. “The Minister was well received in all the meetings in which we had open and very sincere dialogue about the present and future of diplomatic relations between Israel and South Africa,” said the ambassador. “It was a privilege to have been there.”

He explains that it was like “friends talking openly - we met, exchanged views and it was appreciated on both sides”.

He says they spoke about how Israel looks to South Africa for its experience in negotiations. “South Africa can contribute to the Middle East peace process with its knowhow. It would be important if South Africa was more involved. We could also assist on so many levels in South Africa. The ministers were receptive, open and sincere,” says Keinan.

He said the Israeli minister will go back with the message that the South African government is open for dialogue and engagement.

“Israel and South Africa have a lot to discuss. We look forward to more dialogue and more South African involvement in the Middle East,” says the ambassador.

The minister’s visit comes after a series of Israeli members of parliament visiting South Africa: the delegation of five MPs in August and MK Avraham Neguise who was also here last week.

1 Comment

  1. 1 MONICA SOLOMON 11 Nov
    Good step in the right direction

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