PHOTOS: Netanyahu Moved by Rwanda Genocide

Netanyahu touring the genocide memorial in Kigali, Rwanda

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and First Lady Sara Netanyahu this week arrived in Kigali for a one-day official visit.

Netanyahu started his five-day African tour with Uganda where he visited Entebbe airport where his brother Yoni was killed in 1976 as he commanded a military operation to rescue Israel hostages.

He went ahead to visit Kenya where several business agreements were signed between the two governments.

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On Wednesday, visit the Israeli first couple was welcomed by their Rwandan counterparts President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame.

Premier Netanyahu started his visit by touring the Kigali Memorial Centre at Gisozi in Gasabo District to pay tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Netanyahu and Sara pay tribute to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi

Netanyahu and Sara pay tribute to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi

Together with President Kagame, order the Israeli Premier was taken through the history of Genocide and learnt about the journey of nation building that Rwandans have embarked on since the country’s liberation 22 years ago.

“We are deeply moved by this memorial to the victims of one of history’s greatest crimes and reminded of the haunting similarities to the genocide of our own people. Never again, ” Prime Minister Netanyahu and First Lady Sara Netanyahu wrote after touring the Memorial.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also held bilateral talks with President Kagame where the two Heads of State committed to deepening diplomatic ties between the two countries.

At the conclusion of their bilateral discussions, the Heads of State witnessed the signing of a set of cooperation agreements. The agreements are in the areas of: Visa exemption for holders of diplomatic passports; Joint declaration of intent on innovation and Joint declaration in the field of agriculture.

Netanyahu being welcomed at Kigali International Airport

Netanyahu being welcomed at Kigali International Airport

Addressing a joint press conference after the signing, President Kagame and Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that, although the two countries have excellent partnerships in various areas: education, technology, defence and agriculture; they have identified new areas to look forward to.

The new areas include water management; a field that, President Kagame said, Israel has mastered through effectively managing the scarce water resources available.

The President pointed out that for Rwanda’s case, the issue is not scarcity but lack of knowledge to ensure adequate use of the resources in place.

The two leaders stressed that the similarities in the two countries’ tragic past have shaped them in a way that prioritizes human resources.

“Given our tragic history, we have been shaped to do things in a way that gives priority to our people. In Rwanda, we have never done anything that is not in the interests of our people,” President Kagame told reporters.


The two Heads of State shared lessons learnt from the Genocide and the Holocaust, and joined in the fight against genocide denial.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the most important lesson from the Genocide and the Holocaust is that countries must have the capacity to defend themselves since, as it has been the case in the past, the international community and the United Nations often times fail to deliver.

The Israel Premier inspect materials on the 1994 genocide

The Israel Premier inspect materials on the 1994 genocide

“In Rwanda, the UN failed to respond to urgent calls for salvation against an impending genocide. They run away. We cannot, neither one of us, outsource our safety and our security. No one will defend you if you cannot defend yourself,” stressed PM Netanyahu.

President Kagame and Premier Netanyahu observed that despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary, trends of Genocide and Holocaust denial continue to exist.

“Genocide and Holocaust deniers continue to be there. We cannot wish them away. We have to put in place measures to deal with denial upfront. We have the capacity to make sure that Genocide/Holocaust never happens again in our countries,” President Kagame said.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is the first sitting Israeli Premier to visit sub-Saharan Africa in three decades as Israel looks forward to deepening ties with several African nations.


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