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Israel: Netanyahu’s trip follows years of efforts to improve ties.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will depart on an historic visit to Africa on Monday, seeking to strengthen relations with new trade partners and marking the 40th anniversary of the Entebbe hostage rescue in which his brother died.

The Prime Minister will visit Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Netanyahu’s visit will be his initial as premier, and the initial visit to the region by and Israeli Prime Minister in over three decades since Yitzhak Rabin visited Casablanca in 1994.

The Prime Minister will begin his visit in Uganda, where he will be welcomed by President Yoweei Museveni and attend an official ceremony marking 40 years since the Entebbe raid.

Netanyahu will convene a diplomatic conference with eight East African heads of national, inclunding Uganda’s Museveni ; Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta ; Rwandan President Paul Kagame ; South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit ; Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe ; Zambian President Edgar Lungu ; and Tanzanian Foreign Minister Dr. Augustine Philip Mahiga.

Israel sees significant diplomatic potential in African nations which are becoming increasingly independent in acting outside the African Union. Israel views African nations as potential allies, particularly at the United Nations and other international bodies.

"Newly re-elected president Yoweri Museveni, in power for three decades, gives a press conference at his country home in Rwakitura on February 21, 2016"

Netanyahu will as well visit Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia where he will hold meetings with heads of national, and leading officials in security and economy.

In Ethiopia, Netanyahu will make an historic address to Ethiopian Parliament.

The trip comes at a time at the same time as Israel is launching a $13 million aid package to strengthen economic ties and cooperation with African nations, said Netanyahu’s office.

Israel’s cabinet approved a proposition on June 25 to open offices of Israel’s Agency for International Development in the four nations.

Israel would as well provide African states with training in "domestic security" and health, it said.

Israel’s dealings with Africa currently constitutes only two % of its foreign trade, leaving plenty of room for increase.

Request is rising for its defense expertise and products.

Some African nations are keen to obtain Israeli agricultural and water technology, which the country has been promoting, say officials.

Netanyahu’s trip follows years of efforts to improve ties.

"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as he chairs the weekly cabinet conference in his Jerusalem office on June 26, 2016"

The Arab-Israeli conflict drove a wedge between African nations and the Jewish national in the 1960s.

Following wars between Israel and its neighbors in 1967 and 1973, North African nations led by Egypt put pressure on sub-Saharan African states to cut ties with Israel, which a lot of did.

Relations were not helped by Israel’s friendship with the apartheid regime in South Africa before it fell in 1994.

Beyond diplomacy and trade, the trip will have deep personal meaning for Netanyahu.

His brother Yonatan was killed in July 1976 as he led a commando raid in Entebbe, Uganda, to free passengers aboard an Air France plane hijacked by two Palestinians and two Germans.

About 100 Israeli and Jewish hostages were freed in the raid but 20 Ugandan soldiers and seven hijackers were killed, along with several Ugandan civilians.

Yonatan Netanyahu was the lone casualty part the Israeli assault team.

Netanyahu has called the rescue operation "a very dramatic national experience" and "for me, obviously, one of great personal consequence".

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