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October 21, 2012 4:40 pm

Rwandan Foreign Minister Pledges to Open Israel Embassy Within Six Months, Credits Rabbi

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Rwanda's Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo. Photo: Screenshot.

Rwanda plans to open an Embassy in Tel Aviv within six months The Algemeiner has learned. Speaking to a small group of reporters at a press conference on Friday hosted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo said, “We are going to open an embassy in Tel Aviv,” in video footage of the event seen by The Algemeiner, “I should say in the next six months.”

“My President was very clear,” she continued, turning to Rabbi Shmuley, who had posed a question on the subject, “he gave me orders when you were there that he wants an embassy opened very soon.”

Rabbi Boteach, perhaps best known for his book “Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy,” as well as for his role as Michael Jackson’s spiritual adviser, is currently running for congress in New Jersey’s 9th congressional district.

The two spoke of a deep-rooted connection between Rwanda and Israel before Minister Mushikiwabo referenced a recent meeting between her, Rabbi Boteach and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame in which it had been decided that a Rwandan embassy would soon be opened in Israel.

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The issue was originally broached by Rabbi Boteach himself, Jennifer Seley, a spokesperson for the rabbi wrote in an email to The Algemeiner: “When Rabbi Shmuley met with President Kagame and Minister Mushikiwabo in New York a few weeks earlier, the Rabbi had spoken passionately of the importance of solidifying a closer relationship between Rwanda and the Jewish state by having Rwanda open an embassy in Israel. He [President Paul Kagame] asked the Foreign Minster to work on its creation as soon as possible. The Foreign Minister then thanked Rabbi Shmuley for the role he played, because Rwanda now plans to open an embassy in Israel within the next six months.”

However, Ilana Stein, a spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs  told The Algemeiner that no formal steps had been taken by the Rwandans towards opening the embassy in Israel.
“Usually if you want to open an embassy the first thing they [Rwanda] would do is talk to your counterpart— which would be us. We have not heard anything official about an embassy being opened here is Israel.” But Stein did not dismiss the idea.”In general Israel is always glad to have closer ties to countries around the world,” she said, adding, “The relations between Israel and Rwanda are very good.”

The timing carries extra relevance, as Rwanda was recently elected to join the United Nations Security Council, a forum where Israel is often on the agenda. Asked about the importance of the announcement considering Rwanda’s new status at the UN, Stein said in general terms, “Of course the Security Council has a lot of weight for Israel and a lot of the discussions on the Security Council are about Israel.”

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  • For quite a few years after the Rwandan Patriotic Front stopped the genocide in July 1994 by defeating the Hutu extremists who carried it out, Rwanda had an embassy in Tel-Aviv. The first ambassador was Dr. Zac Nsenge, with whom I had the privilege of working together on a number of projects connected to post-genocide justice and commemoration. Unfortunately, the Rwandan government closed their embassy in Israel after about 10 years for financial reasons. Having met President Paul Kagame several times, my impression is that he was a great admirer of Israel.

  • MILINDA RATNASURIYA

    WELL DONE RWANDA !!! NICELY DONE SHULEY !!! NICE WORK PAUL !!!

  • Prof Asher J Matathias

    Quite a positive development to encourage emulation by other African nations, especially Moslem countries. This said, let there be a concerted effort to get both Iraq and Afghanistan —nations for whom much American treasure and blood have been shed — to recognize … Israel, a move that will electrify the region to good effect!

  • Polly T.

    So why didn’t Shmuley convince the Rwandans to open their embassy in Jerusalem? Or doesn’t he think it is Israel’s capital? 😉

  • COULDN’T THEY FIND A RABBI WITH CREDIBILITY?

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