Members of the Rwandan community in Israel, the diplomatic community and Friends of Rwanda last week met in Tel Aviv to mark the 25th Liberation Day celebrations.
The ceremony took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv.
Speaking during the celebrations, Rwandan Ambassador to Israel Col Joseph Rutabana paid tribute to the Rwanda Patriotic Army under President Paul Kagame’s leadership for having been able to stop the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Rutabana also told attendants, most of them foreigners, about the country’s history and what lead to the struggle to liberate the country.
He said that following the liberation, Rwandans were finally happy to have a country for which everyone is proud, adding that this has been a key ingredient for the substantial socio-economic progress registered in the country in the past 25 years.
He also highlighted the visit by Israeli Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Amb. Yuval Rotem to Rwanda earlier this year and the subsequent opening of an embassy in Kigali, which he said was a significant milestone in the two countries’ ties.
Both President Kagame and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have had reciprocal visits to each other’s country.
Rutabana said that among the fruits of the thriving relations between both countries is the direct flight between Kigali and Tel Aviv that was launched last month which will ease movement of people and goods between both countries.
Speaking at the celebrations, the Israeli Minister of Communication David Amsalem, who was guest of honour, talked about the growing ties between the two countries in all areas which he said is a clear sign of strong cooperation between the countries.
He also noted that the newly opened Israeli embassy in Kigali is the first his country has opened in Africa in the past 10 years, which clearly shows the importance Israel sees in its relationship with Rwanda.
On RwandAir’s direct flights between Kigali and Tel Aviv, he noted that it will boost economic ties, tourism as well as people-to-people relations between the two countries.
The Minister also noted the strong friendship between the people of Rwanda and their Israeli counterparts that is based on the common tragedies that happened in the two countries and how both countries chose to look forward and to rise from the disaster and to build their countries in the shortest period possible and have become models worldwide.
Israelis were the victims of the Holocaust between 1941 and 1945 in which over 6 million Jews were killed.