Likud MK Avraham Neguise spoke with tears welling up in his eyes on Thursday about what it meant for him to watch Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address the Ethiopian parliament. “It was very moving that the prime minister of Israel stood in the parliament of Ethiopia and spoke from the heart about the contributions of Ethiopians in Israel,” said Neguise, currently the country’s only Ethiopian-born MK.
Neguise, who emigrated from Ethiopia in 1985, remembers well when the parliament was not filled with speeches of praise to the Israeli-Ethiopian relationship, as was the case on Thursday, but rather with vitriolic addresses against Israel delivered by those who wanted to find favor with Russia’s leader Leonid Brezhnev, Libya’s strongman Muammar Gaddafi, and Cuba’s dictator Fidel Castro during the country’s communist era.
But on Thursday, Netanyahu, who was greeted by rhythmic applause in the red-carpeted parliament, told both houses of that body that the relationship is only growing.
“Ethiopia is on the rise, Africa is on the rise, and the relationship between us is soaring to new heights,” Netanyahu said. Neguise was moved because he remembers how Zionism was regularly attacked along with capitalism and imperialism in Ethiopia. “And now the relationship has come to this point,” he said.
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