The central African country of Chad is the latest predominantly Muslim nation to strengthen ties with Israel. The two countries re-established relations five years ago, and President Deby continued the warming relations in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s African outreach begun by his father, Idriss Deby, who was assassinated in 2021. Israel’s leadership stressed the importance of Deby’s visit, as he met in Jerusalem with Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. The African leader hailed the moment, telling Netanyahu, “Chad and Israel are today at a decisive turning point in their relationship.” It was the president’s first official visit to Israel. Netanyahu responded, noting the ties with Chad represented a “tremendously important relationship with a major country in the heart of Africa.
Netanyahu went on “It is something that we want to carry to new heights, and your visit to Israel and the opening of the embassy is a reflection of that.” Israeli President Herzog told Deby, “Your courage, both yours and your father’s, will go down in history when it comes to the progress in relations between Israel and Muslim and African countries.” Israel and Chad restored relations in 2019 after 47 years as part of Netanyahu’s policy to reach out to African Muslim nations, a move to boost not only economic ties, but to create a security alliance to thwart the ambitions of Iran and other countries that could threaten Israel. Chad had cut off relations in 1972 to protest Israel’s territorial victories in the 1967 Six-Day War.
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