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February 21, 2023 8:39 am

First Arab-Africa-Israel Security Conference to be Held in Jerusalem

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(L to R): Elmehdi Boudra (Founder & President, Mimouna Association), Serge Berdugo ,Malcolm Hoenlein (Vice Chair, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations), HE Jorge Santos (Minister of Cabo Verdean Communities), Jason Guberman (Executive Director, American Sephardi Federation), & Abdeslam Filali (Vice General Secretary, Mimouna Association), at the Jewish Africa Conference in Rabat, Morocco. Photo: American Sephardi Federation. – Representatives of 14 African and Arab countries will convene in Jerusalem next month for the first ever Arab-Africa-Israel conference on Middle East security.

The event comes during a diplomatic tug of war in Africa between supporters and opponents of Israel, which saw a public row when a senior Israeli diplomat was ejected from the African Union’s annual summit in Ethiopia last weekend.

Next month’s three-day conference, titled “Trusted Regional Partnerships at a Time of Shifting Alliances,” which is being organized by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, will include participants from countries without diplomatic relations with Israel.

The conference will focus on security, stability and cooperation, with roundtable discussions on the landmark 2020 Abraham Accords, anti-radicalism and counterinsurgency, as well as food and water security. It will also include two days of visits to cutting-edge Israeli tech companies.

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It will include participants from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Somaliland, South Sudan and South Africa.

“The first ever Arab-Africa Israel policy summit in Jerusalem is particularly important at a moment in the Middle East and Africa when Iran and its Hezbollah terror proxy are subverting states across the region and Africa as well,” said Dan Diker, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in a statement Monday.

“Israel is being sought after by its Arab and African neighbors near and far to collaborate on key issues such as food and water security at a time of regional instability,” he added.

The participants expected at the conference will include policymakers from leading think tanks across Africa and the Gulf as well as their diplomatic representatives in Israel.

Invitations have also been sent to representatives from Sierra Leone, Chad, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Rwanda.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made enhancing Israel’s relations with Africa a major foreign policy goal.

Earlier this month, he joined Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno at the opening of the African country’s embassy in Israel. On the same day, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with the leader of Sudan’s transitional government in Khartoum.  

Separately, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs hosted a panel of South African and African-American religious leaders last week on confronting antisemitism and the apartheid libel against Israel.

“Instead of attacking the Jews as individuals or as small communities, the assault is against the collective identity of the Jewish people and especially the State of Israel,” Minister for Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli said at the event. “This apartheid narrative is one big lie, and just like the Soviet Union, it will collapse. It won’t stand the test of time.”

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