JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel recognized the new state of South Sudan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of Sunday’s regular Cabinet meeting wished success to the new land.
"This is a peace-seeking country and we would be pleased to cooperate with it in order to ensure its development and its prosperity," he said. "Greetings to South Sudan."
Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that Israel should begin negotiations with the new country in order to return thousands of Sudanese refugees who have made Israel their home in recent years.
Sudanese refugees living in Tel Aviv celebrated the birth of the new state, according to Israeli media.
South Sudan became a state on July 9 with its capital in Juba, following a vote for independence. The country had been recognized the previous day by the government of Sudan.
Jewish groups welcomed the new state.