Israel Makes Headway With South Africa

YERUSHALAYIM -
Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold. (Emil Salman/POOL)
Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold. (Emil Salman/POOL)

While South Africa has not been on the published list of countries involved in Israel’s current outreach to Africa, it turns out that South Africa has by no means been excluded.

Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold met on Wednesday with the Foreign Minister of South Africa, who three years ago declared that officials from her country do not engage with Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The meeting, which transpired on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, was not immediately publicized, and although the Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed it, would not discuss what was said between the two.

However, Gold released a photo of himself with Foreign Minister Nkoana-Mashabane, and said that he was “[e]xploring the ties between our nations.”

“We consider the very fact that this meeting was held an extraordinary achievement,” a senior Foreign Ministry official told The Times of Israel on Thursday.

South Africa has sided with the Palestinians against Israel, which has been the sticking point diplomatically. Last year, the African National Congress — the country’s ruling party — hosted the Hamas official Khaled Mashaal, which drew a protest from Israel.

Earlier this year, Gold made a three-day visit to South Africa, meeting with Jewish community leaders and government officials.

“The meetings were a very important start. To say that we’re about to have a completely different relationship is premature. But there was a readiness to hear our arguments,” Gold told The Times of Israel at the time. “There’s potential. Now, everything is in the follow-up.”