As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues his historic tour of Africa today, he paid a visit to the country of Rwanda. While there, he visited the memorial to the nearly 1 million Rwandans massacred during their nation's genocide and, reports The Times of Israel's Raphael Ahren, highlighted the ties between Rwanda and the Jewish people's suffering:
Netanyahu, welcomed at the airport by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, later visited the Kigali Memorial Center, where more than 250,000 victims of the at least 800,000 victims of the 1994 genocide are buried in mass graves.
“We are deeply moved by the memorial to the victims of one history’s greatest crimes – and reminded of the haunting similarities to the genocide of our own people. Never again,” Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, wrote in the guestbook at the memorial, according to a tweet by Kagame.
“The Rwandan government felt a real affinity with Israel for obvious historic reasons,” said Phil Clark, a Rwanda specialist at London’s SOAS university.
“Israel was seen as a small country in a very hostile neighborhood; a country with very few resources but which had recovered from its genocide very quickly and very impressively,” Clark said. “So Israel was an obvious place for Rwanda to look to for inspiration.”