President of Liberia George Weah and Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara.
(photo credit: MIRI SHIMONOVITZ)
Liberia’s President George Weah arrived in Israel on Monday for a four day visit during which he is expected to ask for Jerusalem’s engagement in a development and prosperity program he initiated soon after his election last year.
Weah took over in January 2018 from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who served as Liberia’s president for 12 years and forged close bilateral ties with Israel, making it, according to Israeli officials, one of the Jewish state’s most supportive countries in Africa.
This has been reflected in a very strong voting record on Israel in international forums, a pattern that Weah has continued.
For instance, Liberia was one of only six of Africa’s 54 countries – along with Rwanda, South Sudan, Malawi, Lesotho and Cabo Verde – who voted with Israel and the US in support of an anti-Hamas resolution in December. That resolution, though it mustered support from well over a majority of the states, failed to pass because it did not reach the two-thirds threshold needed for adoption.
Weah, who is considered “very friendly,” has been in Israel in the past in a private capacity.
He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday. The two met previously in June 2017 when Weah was a senator and Netanyahu traveled to Liberia for a day to take part in a conference bringing together the leaders of 15 western African states.
Weah – a former international football star considered one of the top African players in history – is viewed in Jerusalem as someone with a strong American orientation interested in Israel’s cooperation in a wide range of fields, from agriculture to anti-terror assistance.
In addition to meeting Netanyahu, Weah – who was greeted upon arrival by Communications Minister Ayoob Kara – is also scheduled to meet President Reuven Rivlin.
In addition, he is scheduled to participate in a couple of agricultural and economic exhibitions and events, visit the Mashav Agriculture Training Center in Shefayim, go to Tzrifin for an exhibition of security systems, visit Yad Vashem, tour the Old City and go to Qasr el-Yahud, the Christian baptismal site on the banks of the Jordan River.
The Jerusalem municipality will host Weah at a football event at the sports center in Emek Ha’arazim on Wednesday evening.
Weah’s delegation includes his wife, seven ministers, the chairman of his country’s National Investment Commission and the mayor of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital.
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