Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno opened his majority-Muslim country’s first embassy in Israel on Thursday, four years after the countries reestablished ties after a decades-long schism, according to an Israeli statement.
The inauguration of the embassy in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, was described as a “historic moment” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
In 2020, Netanyahu stated that he discussed the “possibility of opening an embassy in Jerusalem” with a Chadian delegation.
That would have been a major victory for the right-winger, who has been urging foreign governments to establish embassies in the city since then-President Donald Trump relocated the US embassy in 2018.
“We are deepening our friendship and pursuing our mutual interests in pursuing peace, security, and prosperity,” Netanyahu said on Thursday.
When Chad declared independence from France in 1960, Israel recognized it and established an embassy in Ndjamena by 1962.
Under pressure from Muslim African nations, Israel severed ties with Chad in 1972.
Following the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973, a number of African countries severed ties with the Jewish state.
However, in recent years, Israel has emphasized areas of cooperation ranging from security to technology and agriculture in order to strengthen ties on the continent.
Netanyahu and Deby announced the resumption of diplomatic relations during a visit to Chad in 2019.
Following his arrival on Tuesday, Deby met with David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency.
The Mossad “played a central role in formulating the agreement and strengthening relations between the two countries,” according to a statement from Israel’s prime minister’s office.
Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries, is not a member of the Arab League but is a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Netanyahu has made it a foreign policy priority to strengthen Israeli ties with the Arab and Muslim worlds.