Israeli President Isaac Herzog hosted Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema in Jerusalem on Tuesday, marking a significant diplomatic meeting between the two nations.
President Hichilema’s three-day visit to Israel was at the invitation of President Herzog, accompanied by his wife Mutinta and a delegation of senior Zambian government officials. The visit included explorations of Jerusalem’s historic sites, such as the revered Western Wall at the Temple Mount, and significant Christian landmarks like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The official reception for President Hichilema featured an Israel Defense Forces Honor Guard, with the national anthems of both nations resounding in unity.
Prior to their broader diplomatic discussions, the two leaders held a private meeting where President Herzog highlighted the exceptional ties between Israel and Zambia, advocating for their expansion.
“Zambia is a nation with which Israel has maintained exceptional relations over many years,” President Herzog emphasized during the ceremony. “We see potential for growth and cooperation in fields like technology, agriculture, science, health, and numerous other sectors.”
President Hichilema reciprocated the sentiments, expressing gratitude for Israel’s contributions to Zambia’s development. He acknowledged Israel’s impact on his personal education and commended its expertise in various domains including technology, agriculture, health, and water management.
Addressing President Hichilema’s faith as a Seventh-Day Adventist, President Herzog brought attention to the significance of the Sabbath in Judaism and its broader value to humanity.
“The Sabbath is a profound gift from the people of the book to mankind. As we light a candle, so do you,” President Herzog remarked, acknowledging the shared cultural appreciation.
Notably, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen engaged in discussions with Zambian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Stanley Kakubo. The result was the signing of a General Framework of Agreement encompassing cooperation across medical, communications, cultural, and agricultural domains.
Foreign Minister Cohen recognized Africa’s burgeoning growth and the potential for strengthened ties with countries like Zambia. He affirmed that Zambia holds a crucial place in Israel’s pursuit of robust relations within the African continent.
The bilateral agreement aligns with Israel’s strategic vision of counterbalancing Iranian influence in Africa through enhanced engagement with nations across the continent. This approach aligns with Israel’s broader diplomatic efforts, exemplified by Foreign Minister Cohen’s recent interactions with leaders from Ghana, Ivory Coast, and other African nations.