Conflict in the Horn of Africa Should Worry Israel

November 15, 2021 | Eyal Zisser
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The ongoing civil war in Ethiopia, besides constituting a humanitarian catastrophe, threatens to spill over into neighboring Sudan and Eritrea. Separately, Egypt has threatened Addis Ababa with war should it go through with its plans for a new dam on the Blue Nile. Eyal Zisser explains why Israel should be concerned:

Despite the geographical distance, Israel is finding itself involved in the war in Ethiopia. First, due to the Falash Mura community, who have ties to Judaism and want to immigrate to Israel. The realities of civil war, as we have seen play out in other parts of the world, motivate many people suddenly to rediscover the Jewish roots—putting Israel in a complicated position.

Second, because of Ethiopia’s strategic location along the Red Sea: on one side of the sea Iran is establishing a menacing military presence in Yemen; on the other, Israel has managed to forge alliances with Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, and recently Sudan as well. All of this is now in jeopardy due to civil wars and internal conflicts afflicting these countries. Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that although the rising [tensions] between Cairo and Addis Ababa threaten to consume Israel, both countries have asked the Jewish state for help and support.

Restoring peace and stability to Ethiopia is a supreme interest for the country’s own people, its neighbors in Africa, and for far-flung Israel.

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