On Tuesday, the president of Chad landed in Israel to open the African nation’s new embassy in Israel. The embassy joins those of dozens of other nations that have their diplomatic outposts situated just outside of Tel Aviv (only a handful of countries have their embassy in Jerusalem, the capital).
Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and David Barnea, the director of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. The Mossad have played an integral role in the normalization of diplomatic relations between Chad and Israel over the last several years.
“We are full of hope that other leaders in the Middle East and in Africa will take inspiration from this important agreement and will advance their relations with Israel,” said Barnea.
Under the influence of Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan dictator, neighboring Chad severed formal ties with the Jewish nation in 1972 (although informal channels remained open through the years). In 2019, Netanyahu and Itno’s father, the former president of Chad, re-opened formal diplomatic relations. Part of Netanyahu’s foreign policy strategy in recent years has been to re-establish and strengthen ties with Israel’s African neighbors.
“We see these relations as extremely important – with a great country at the heart of Africa,” Netanyahu said during his meeting with the Chadian president Wednesday. “These are relations that we want to upgrade to new levels, to new heights – and your visit here in Israel and the opening of the embassy are an expression of this.”
“We believe that our cooperation can help not only to advance our relations, but it is also part of Israel’s coming back to Africa and Africa coming back to Israel. We have common goals of security, prosperity, and stability,” Netanyahu emphasized.
“Chad and Israel are today at a decisive turning point in their relationship … renew(ing) ties after almost five decades,” President Déby said. “This is a country laden with history and this is the civilization of all the monotheistic faiths.”
Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Chad and other African nations play a key role in combatting Hezbollah and the growing threat from Iran.
“I would like to congratulate the president of Chad for the important decision to open an embassy in the State of Israel. The dialogue we held today reflects the growing winds of change seen in the Abraham Accords and that are also blowing towards the African continent. I am confident that our developing ties will contribute to both nations and to the wider region,” Gallant said.
Last year, Israel and Chad signed a cooperative agreement on forestry and climate change. Israel also operates medical training and humanitarian programs in the African nation.
“We are strengthening our friendship and our common interests in pursuing peace, security, and prosperity. We had excellent discussions yesterday. I welcome you and I hope to see you again in Chad,” Netanyahu said at the official opening of the embassy on Thursday, calling it a “historic moment.”