Chair of Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky met with African Christian leaders
Chair of Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky met with African Christian leaders Avi Mayer for The Jewish Agency for Israel

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky met Wednesday morning in Jerusalem with a delegation of African Christian leaders.

South African Pastor Linda Gobodo, founder of the Vuka Africa Foundation, and Nigerian Pastor Olusegun Olanipekun, founder of the Institute for Christian Leadership Development, presented Chairman Sharansky with an award on behalf of millions of Christian supporters of Israel across Africa.

They were accompanied by Reeva Forman, Vice President of the South African Zionist Federation, and Aviad Sela, head of The Jewish Agency’s delegation in South Africa and Director of the South Africa Israel Center.

Pastor Linda Gobodo said: “As Prime Minister Netanyahu recently said, Israel is returning to Africa and Africa is returning to Israel. In 2014, we organized the largest rally in the world to support Israel during the summer conflict with Hamas – it was the largest pro-Israel rally ever to take place in Africa. We want you to know that there are millions of people in Africa who love, support, and pray for Israel.”

Pastor Olusegun Olanipekun added: “We believe that Africa’s future depends on our connection to Israel. We have a great deal to learn from the Israeli people and we believe that he have a great deal to offer in return. We look forward to returning to Israel with dozens of leaders from across Africa for the third Africa Leadership Summit in Jerusalem in 2017.”

Sharansky fondly recalled meeting with Nelson Mandela in 1990, and serving as an observer during the first democratic election in South Africa in 1994:

“That you, as spiritual leaders in Africa, have come to Jerusalem with an offering of peace is deeply moving. We need to pay more attention to the inspiring voices coming from Africa.”

Sharansky discussed The Jewish Agency’s work in Africa, including the Project TEN volunteer centers in Gondar, Ethiopia, and Winneba, Ghana, and informed his guests that a third center will be opening in Durban, South Africa, later this year. At the end of the meeting, he accepted his guests’ invitation to address the third Africa Leadership Summit next year in Jerusalem.