Just over two decades ago, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were massacred during the country's civil war. Now, The Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon writes that the recovering African nation is looking to Israel as a model for growth and recovery after genocide:
As a country where genocide was committed just over two decades ago, Rwanda looks to Israel as a model of how to build a modern country out of the ashes of racial extermination, Rwanda’s Ambassador Joseph Rutabana told The Jerusalem Post.
Rutabana’s comment in an interview in his Herzliya Pituah office on Wednesday comes on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to four east African countries at the beginning of July: Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Rwanda is on the list, according to one Israeli diplomatic source, because it is arguably Israel’s closest friend on the continent.
An estimated 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days in 1994 in Rwanda, in what the UN has officially called the “Genocide against the Tutsi,” during a civil war that ravaged the country.
Immediately after the war, when a new government was formed, it looked to quickly reestablish ties with Israel.
“Rwanda can learn from your experience,” Rutabana said. “That you believe in something, and you don’t stop until you achieve it. Our leadership wants to show us that we cannot be complacent, that we cannot think that we can rely on someone else. Because we saw what happened. Our people were killed, and the whole world was watching. We need to continue, and Israel is a model of a people who are resilient, and who feel that they need to rely on themselves to solve their problems, and are not relying on others to achieve what they need to achieve..."