(JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a formal ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, at which a bilateral declaration was signed by the countries’ respective ambassadors.
The official welcome included the playing of the Israeli and Ethiopian national anthems by the IDF orchestra, as well as an honor guard review.
The ceremony was attended by Agernesh Mengistu, the mother of Israeli captive of Hamas in Gaza Avera Mengistu; Chief Rabbi for Ethiopian Jewry Reuven Wabashat; Kes Avihu Azarya, chairman of the Council of Ethiopian Spiritual Elders; and Kes Samay Elias, chairman of the Spiritual Council of Ethiopian Jewish Kesim.
In the joint declaration signed by Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia Rafael Morav and Ethiopian Ambassador to Israel Reta Alemu Nega, the two countries agree to strengthen cooperation in the areas of agriculture, water, irrigation, health, science and technology, and the economy, and express interest in examining additional cooperation in the areas of cyber security, telecommunication, space science and technology.
Netanyahu thanked Ahmed for his assistance in trying to locate missing Israeli tourist Aya Naamneh and for Ethiopian authorities’ success in repatriating the remains of Israeli Shimon Re’em, who was killed in an Air Ethiopia crash in March.
“Our ancient peoples have historic ties, but it’s a special bond because it is also strengthened by a human bridge of 150,000 Israelis of Ethiopian descent who bring the culture of Ethiopia, the pride of Ethiopia, to Israel, just as they maintain the culture of the Jewish people and the pride of the Jewish people in Ethiopia,” said Netanyahu.
He concluded by saying that the two countries could only gain from working together.