WASHINGTON (Jan. 2)
Kenya on Friday became the sixth African country to restore diplomatic ties with Israel severed during the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Israeli Embassy announced here.
In total, 11 African nations now have full diplomatic relations with Israel.
Under Arab pressure, all but four African nations severed diplomatic relations with Israel following the 1973 war. The four were Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa and Swaziland.
Egypt established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1979, when it became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state.
Five other African nations have restored relations since: Zaire in 1982, Liberia in 1983, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon in 1986, and Togo in 1987.
Unlike those nations, which mainly lie on Africa’s western coast, Kenya is located in the central eastern region of Africa, bordering on the Indian Ocean. In addition, it shares the southern border of Ethiopia, where an oppressed community of between 10,000 and 15,000 Jews remains, half a decade after the Operation Moses airlifts.
More than three dozen African countries still do not have diplomatic relations with Israel. But the Israeli Embassy said despite that, 425 people from 24 black African countries received training in Israel in 1987 in the fields of agriculture, education and health care.