AFRICA AND ISRAEL: A Unique Case of Radical Change in Israel’s ForeignRelations
By Aryeh Oded
The relationship between Israel and Africa has been characterized by dramatic shifts, unparalleled in Israel’s relations with other continents. When most African nations gained independence in the 1960s, Israel was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with them and offer wide-ranging assistance, hoping that these friendly relations would help to end its isolation in the region. Israeli embassies operated in 33 countries south of the Sahara. Thus, there was tremendous disappointment when nearly all African countries broke off diplomatic relations during and after the Yom Kippur War. In the 1980’s, Israel began to return to Africa and today has relations with 40 states. Aryeh Oded, who has served as Israeli ambassador to several African countries, analyzes the reasons for these radical changes, basing his work on primary sources and personal experience.