Prime Minister Netanyahu (center, in blue suit) with African heads of state
Prime Minister Netanyahu (center, in blue suit) with African heads of stateGPO

A few weeks ago, Israel received intelligence that South Africa and Algeria were working to cancel its status observer state of the African Union.

Kan reported that the two countries had planned to call to cancel relations with Israel during a meeting of the Union, and to introduce a proposal that would declare that Israel was guilty of genocide.

A widespread diplomatic effort led by Foreign Minister Israel Katz prevented the initiative. Among other things, the President, Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister all sent appeals and spoke with the heads and foreign ministers of African states. The Israeli embassies in Africa worked on the effort as well, each in their own country, and in some cases, senior officials from the Foreign Ministry were sent to states in which Israel does not have a permanent diplomatic presence.

The meeting took place over the weekend in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Israel sent the director of the Foreign Ministry, Kobi Blitstein, and the Deputy Director of African Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, Sharon Bar-Li, to carry out negotiations against the initiative.

The vote left Israel as an observer state, with a coalition of African states forming to oppose the initiative from South Africa and Algeria. The attempts to cancel relations with Israel and accuse it of genocide likewise failed.

Approximately a year ago, an Israeli delegation was removed from the room in Addis Ababa where the 36th summit of African Union heads of state was being held. In a statement from the Foreign Ministry that was published regarding the incident, Israel declared, “We are sad to see the African Union taken hostage by a small number of states like Algeria and South Africa, who are powered by hatred and ruled by Iran. We call for the states of Africa to stand against these actions which harm the African Union and the entire continent.”