Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife with Liberian President George Weah and his wife .
(photo credit: PMO)
Netanyahu has touted Israel’s improved ties with Africa as one of his diplomatic achievements during his last decade as prime minister.
It was an achievement he referenced again on Friday, less than 24 hours after Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit announced that he intends to indict Netanyahu for bribery.
Netanyahu’s chief opponent, Benny Gantz, who heads the Blue and White Party, has called on Netanyahu to resign, explaining that he cannot both defend himself against the charge and run the country.
On Friday morning, Netanyahu published photographs and two videos to show that he was busy managing affairs of state.
Both he and his wife, Sara, hosted Weah and his wife, Clar, at their Jerusalem residence.
“Israel is returning to Africa in a big way,” Netanyahu said. “Africa is coming to Israel and so is the entire world. We are turning Israel into a rising global power.”
The president of Liberia is a “wonderful man who loves Israel,” Netanyahu said. He was “extraordinarily impressed by the country,” the prime minister added, as he explained that the two countries have very strong ties.
Weah met with Netanyahu at the tail end of a four-day Israel visit to deepen economic ties between the two countries.
“My wife and I are delighted to have you, Mr. President, and your wife, in Israel. Liberia and Israel have a wonderful friendship. I visited your country recently. You are now visiting Israel and Jerusalem,” Netanyahu told Weah when they met. “We have common traditions and a common desire to see a better future for our people[s].”
Netanyahu referenced Weah’s past career as a world famous soccer player. In 1995, FIFA named Weah as World Player of the Year.
“You know I used to play soccer,” Netanyahu told Weah. “I was on the high school team – that is as far as I got. I have been a long-time admirer of a great athlete who is now a great leader.”
Weah told Netanyahu, “Israel is a great country – and this is why you are fighting for it to be better. I hope that everything that you do desire for Israel will come true.”
Liberia was one of the 33 countries which supported the 1947 United Nations General Assembly resolution that recognized Israel as a Jewish state.
President Reuven Rivlin, who also met with Weah, tweeted about the deep history between the two countries.
“Our friendship with #Liberia goes back to 1947,” Rivlin wrote. “Today I met President @GeorgeWeahOff and welcomed him to Israel. He brought great joy to many people, myself included, as one of the greatest footballers in the world. Under his leadership our relations can reach new heights.”
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