Israel Tries to Expand Power in Africa

African diplomacy: Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, for the Economic Community of West African States summit, and Israeli solar panels are offered to Africans

Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been intent on nurturing diplomatic ties with sub-Saharan African nations. He was the first Israeli prime minister in three decades to travel to Africa and also attended the Kenyan president’s inauguration and a summit of West African states. About 30 percent of the world’s Muslims live in Africa, and about half the continent’s population is Muslim. Israel’s efforts are multi-pronged and targeted: The country provides security assistance to battle extremist groups like Boko Haram or al Shabaab; pursues trade with countries that are among the fastest growing in the world; and aims to reduce intense opposition to Israeli policies, especially related to Palestinian pursuit of self-determination, at international organizations like the United Nations. Still, Netanyahu quickly capitulated to political opposition in early April, suspending a deal to let African asylum seekers stay in the country. “Despite policy sophistication, Israel does not seem ready to quit the traditional carrot-and-stick approach,” journalist Raluca Besliu concludes. “It may find that long-term connections of mutual interest are more productive.” – YaleGlobal