Chadian President Deby visits the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to fly to Chad late Saturday night to mark the renewal of diplomatic relations between the two countries. This will be the first visit by an Israel leader to the country.
Netanyahu will meet with President Idriss Déby, who came to Israel in a historic visit last November.
“This is another diplomatic breakthrough,” Netanyahu said during Déby’s visit. “This is a historic and important visit that comes against the background of efforts that we have led.”
In July 2016, Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to visit Africa in more than three decades when he visited Kenya, Uganda Ethiopia and Rwanda.
Since then, he has placed improving ties with Africa high his diplomatic agenda. This trip will mark Netanyahu's fourth visit to Africa.
Chad, a member of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, severed diplomatic ties with Israel in 1972 amid pressure from neighboring Libya, according to Dore Gold, former Foreign Ministry Director-General.
Gold, who spoke to Israel Radio earlier this week, traveled to the country and met with Déby to have exploratory talks on improving bilateral relations. Recently a delegation of Israel's National Security Council visited Chad, as well.
The majority of Chad’s 15.8 million people are Muslim (52%). Another 44 percent of citizens are Christian.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.