Rwandan President Paul Kagame was accorded an unusual double honor on his arrival in Yerushalayim on Monday as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu joined President Reuven Rivlin to greet the African leader at the President’s residence.
Normally, the two Israeli leaders greet visiting foreign dignitaries separately, but as PM Netanyahu explained, Kagame is special:
“In one of our earlier meetings, I voiced the hope that Israel could come back to Africa in a big way, and that Africa could come back to Israel in a big way. And we discussed this for some time,” Netanyahu recalled, as he addressed Kagame.
“And you said, well, I think I can help. And in fact, you did help. I would say you were the indispensable bridge on which we marched to make our return to Africa, step by step, with very sound advice, very, very wise counsel.”
In his remarks, Pres. Rivlin referred to another important role that Rwanda can play for Israel:
“We know that Rwanda is now going to be member of the U.N. Human Rights Council. This is a body which is always against Israel, so we welcome all those who are prepared to speak for us,” he added, “we appreciate your support very much. It is a pleasure to welcome you here in Yerushalayim.”
President Kagame expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome but made no mention of either Netanyahu’s Africa trips, nor the UNHRC.&
“We are looking forward to reinforcing our cooperation with Israel on common challenges and issues of mutual interest,” he said.