PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Power Africa Event
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Monday, 4 December 2017),
attended the signing ceremony for Israel's accession to the USAID Power
Africa initiative. The agreement, between the Prime Minister's Office and he
US Government, was also attended by Economy minister Eli Cohen, US
Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Prime Minister's Office Director
General Eli Groner, Power Africa Coordinator Andrew M. Herscowitz, African
ambassadors to Israel, US administration representatives in Israel, Power
Africa representatives and leading Israeli energy companies.
Under the agreement, Israeli companies will be able to take part in the
Power Africa initiative and will receive various tools to advance projects
for generating electricity and connecting consumers on the continent. To
these ends, companies will have increased access to government officials and
receive monetary grants, ties with financial elements will be advanced,
professional and legal advice will be made available and feasibility studies
will be conducted.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"It’s a pleasure to be with all of you this morning, in this great
partnership between Israel, the United States and Africa.
This is an initiative that will electrify Africa – well, literally and
figuratively. This is bringing light, and every time that an African mother
will turn on the light or turn on a heater for some water for her children,
part of Israel will be there. It’s a great, great development. And it
comports with a vision that I have, which is to have Israel come back to
Africa and have Africa come back to Israel. It was a wonderful partnership
in the ‘60s, derailed, now back on track in full force. This locomotive is
going very fast. In the last 18 months, I’ve been three times to Africa. I
have to tell my African friends that it has three days since I saw African
diplomats, and I’m getting giddy.
This is something that is borne about not really by the friendship of
governments. You know, we conduct polls on the internet. You can do it too.
It’s quite startling. We asked in 54 countries in all the continents, 'So,
what do you think of Israel? You think it has value? Is it an asset? You
think your countries will benefit from contacts with Israel?' So we get
startling results that reflect the change in Israel’s international
position, because of our technological prowess in bettering the lives of
people in so many areas. Energy is one of them, but water, agriculture, IT,
security—all the elements that are important for the maintenance and
development of a good life, a good, safe life.
We see that countries around the world, that governments appreciate it, but
what we found in this poll is that the people appreciate it. And guess where
we got the highest marks? Now, David, don’t be offended—the US is way up
there, okay? Way up there. But guess who is at the top? The people of
Africa. They recognize the benefit of partnering with Israel. And that’s a
It means that what we’re doing, what we’re developing here, is a partnership
not only of governments, but of peoples. And what the people understand is
that cooperation with Israel, just as it helped agriculture in Africa in the
‘60s, can now help every realm of life in the beginning of the 21st century.
It’s a remarkably positive development. We’re going to continue this step
after step after step. We believe in Africa. I believe in Africa. I believe
in the partnership with Africa. And what better partnership can we have than
having USAID, the US government, Israel and the African countries working
together to secure a better future.
So, the most important thing is to be to the point, and you know that Hebrew
is a very compact language. Do you know that? It’s very compact. When you
translate English, Hebrew into English, it’s about a third longer, so in the
beginning of the Bible, there are two words in Hebrew, okay? It takes four
words to say it in English, but I’ll say it and it summarizes everything
that we’re doing here: Let there be light."