While on a state visit to Israel, President Paul Kagame on Monday received a rare joint welcome from both President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
According to The Jerusalem Post, “as a rule there is a division of labour and Netanyahu stays out of Rivlin’s domain and Rivlin stays out of Netanyahu’s.” It adds that the Israeli Prime Minister was not present when US President Donald Trump met with President Rivlin last month, nor at the occasion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit last week.
“The fact that the prime minister chose to deviate from this custom on Monday was the most telling sign of the value that Israel places on its relationship with Rwanda in general and with Kagame in particular,” The Jerusalem Post says.
Rivlin and Netanyahu went out together to meet Kagame when he arrived at the presidential palace, and the three dignitaries together stood at attention for the national anthems.
Netanyahu credited Kagame with helping to pave the way for Israel’s return to Africa. It all began with his conversation with Kagame, said Netanyahu. Thanks in part to Kagame's help, Netanyahu will make his third trip to Africa in a span of less than three years.
“You were the indispensable bridge on which we marched step by step to return to Africa,” Netanyahu told Kagame.
Part of the mutual understanding between Israel and Rwanda is a shared tragic legacy that was referred to by both Rivlin and Netanyahu. Israelis live with the memory of the Holocaust, and Rwandans with the memory of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.
The peoples of both countries have pledged ‘Never again!’ said Netanyahu, and both he and Rivlin expressed appreciation for the way in which Rwanda stands up for Israel at international forums.
The Israeli President also noted how pleased Israel was that Kagame, in an address to AIPAC, had said that Israel is without question a friend of Rwanda, and added that this visit would serve to strengthen the existing deep relationship.
Kagame replied that he was very pleased to be back in Israel to reaffirm the relationship, and praised Israel for following through on commitment which it had made to Rwanda.
Adapted from The Jerusalem Post