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Kenya Wants Israel's Help Against Jihadists

Public Security Minister met Kenyan counterpart, who said that jihadists are taking over Somalia and could take over Kenya too.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/11/2010, 9:02 PM / Last Update: 2/11/2010, 8:46 PM

Israel news photo

Kenya wants Israel's help in fighting Muslim jihadists.

The Minister for Public Security, Yitzchak Aharonovich, met his Kenyan counterpart Prof. George Saitoti in Jerusalem Thursday, and the two discussed their countries' security and criminal problems.

Minister Saitoti told Aharonovich that Kenya is under threat from extremist Muslims. “The jihad is taking over Somalia and threatening to take over Kenya and all of Africa,” he said. “No one is more experienced than you in fighting internal terror. I request that you help us in this matter. In knowledge, in training.”

'I promise to help'
Aharonovich told Saitoti about the influx of unwanted immigrants from Africa, and said that the Israeli government will vote Sunday on the construction of a fence on the southern border. “We realize that this is not an ideal solution but we have to do something about the matter. You know this from the Somali border,” he told his guest.

The Kenyan minister replied: “I promise that we will help you as regards the infiltrators. We have a lot of knowledge and we are successful in dealing with the phenomenon relatively well on the Somali border.”

Aharonovich and Saitoti also discussed Iran. “Not far from here, Ahmedinejad sits and threatens with extinction a nation that has already suffered a Holocaust in its lifetime. We must not bear such a situation and indeed we won't,” the Israeli said. “As a nation friendly to you, I tell you that we shall not put up with the Iranian declarations about destroying Israel,” Saitoti replied.

Uganda Plan -- now in Kenya
Kenya's population is mostly Christian and generally very friendly toward Israelis, whom they often refer to by the Biblical term “Israelites.” Unlike the western world, Kenya has no history of anti-Semitism, and the history of the Jewish people is known mostly from the stories of their greatness in the Bible, and from modern-day exploits such as the Six Day War in 1967 and the Entebbe raid in 1976, which was assisted by Kenya.

The Muslim part of Kenya's population – about 10% – is concentrated in the coastal area, where Muslim ivory and slave traders settled centuries ago.  

Zionist leader Theodore Herzl's plan to settle Jews in Africa as a temporary refuge was intended for an area known as the Uasin Gishu Plateau. This fertile region was inside Uganda at the time but was later transferred to Kenya by the British colonial rulers.