MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) met at the Knesset on Monday with a delegation of prominent women from several African countries. The delegation includes women from the academia and from the education field, as well as parliament members, members of political parties and one journalist.
Neguise, an Ethiopian Israeli, told the women that as an MK he works to strengthen the relations between Israel and Africa. Towards this end, he recently established the Lobby for Relations between Israel and African Countries, which he heads. Neguise also chairs the Israel-Ethiopia Parliamentary Friendship Group, the Israel-Ghana Parliamentary Friendship Group, the Israel-Côte d`Ivoire Parliamentary Friendship Group and the Israel-Rwanda Parliamentary Friendship Group.
”I believe that the meeting between Israeli technology and the fertile African soil can effect change in Africa and strengthen the ties between Israelis and Africans,” he told the delegation members, while mentioning Israel`s advanced capabilities in the fields of irrigation, desalination, tourism, medicine, education and solar energy. ”If we develop cooperation in these fields, both Israelis and Africans will benefit.”
During the meeting, MK Neguise noted that the 20th Knesset includes a record number of women parliamentarians. ”I encourage you, as leaders in your countries, to continue with your activity,” he said to the African women.
Neguise, who serves as chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, noted the importance of Jewish immigration to the strengthening of Israeli society, and said part of the committee`s duty is to advance equal opportunities for recent immigrants in education, employment and housing. He noted that part of the challenge stems from the fact that 90 percent of Ethiopians who immigrated to Israel came from rural areas, ”so there are economic, cultural and professional gaps.” In order to narrow these gaps, Israel provides afterschool classes to Ethiopian pupils, vocational training for adults and housing assistance to immigrant families, this in addition to various social in intercultural programs, he said.
The African delegation is visiting Israel at the initiative of UN Women, which was established in 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women – Africa, one of the largest branches, works to ”support regional gender-responsive measures to promote women’s leadership and participation in politics, government, business and society and to influence regional and national legal frameworks and policies to increase women’s leadership and political participation.”
While in Israel, the delegation members are taking part in a leadership course organized by Israel`s Agency for International Development Cooperation, a division of the Foreign Ministry. The course is being held in cooperation with Singapore.
Click here for a list of the African delegation members