This week, Benjamin Netanyahu has been visiting Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. Many factors have encouraged the warming of relations between Israel and these African states. They include the fall of Muammar Ghaddafi, who exerted his influence to keep Israel out of Africa, the thaw between Israel and those Sunni Arab states that have African allies, and interest in Israeli water technology. But, writes Herb Keinon, one concern is paramount:
Three of the four [countries visited by Netanyahu]—Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia—are facing terrorism from Islamic extremists, and Rwanda is concerned about a spillover effect. These countries are afraid that what has happened in Libya, Mali, and the Ivory Coast could happen to them as well.
For this reason they are interested in forging stronger ties with Israel. It is not all about getting water, energy, and agricultural know-how; it is also very much about getting Israeli knowledge and assistance in how to combat terrorism.
These countries, and other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, are more concerned with questions of homeland security than they were some twenty years ago, and they see Israel as one country with a great deal of experience—and technology—in this field.