Rwandans in Israel were on Sunday joined by Israel government officials, diplomats and friends of Rwanda to mark the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The event was organised by the Rwandan embassy in Israel and took place in the capital Tel Aviv, according to a statement from the embassy office in Israel.
Amb. Col Joseph Rutabana gave the audience the background of the Genocide against the Tutsi and informed them that this year’s commemoration theme, ‘Remember-Unite-Renew’, was focusing on the legacy of strength, resilience, and unity that the new generation is called upon to sustain.
Diplomats and friends of Rwanda during Kwibuka25 at Yitzhak Rabin Centre in Tel Aviv
This, he said, would enable the continuation of the strides Rwanda has been able to make over the past quarter of a century and carry forward the vision for Rwanda’s transformation.
Rutabana explained that Rwanda chose, from the beginning, to focus on unity, reconciliation and development; and has embarked on nurturing a vision of hope where Rwandans are now striving towards a dignified future and prosperity.
The diplomat also made the call to the international community to stand together against the genocide ideology by preserving the facts about the Genocide against the Tutsi, providing justice for the victims and fighting impunity, as well as enacting and enforcing laws that punish revisionism or denial.
Amb. Col Joseph Rutabana speaks during the Kwibuka25 event at Yitzhak Rabin Centre in Tel Aviv. Courtesy
Both Rwanda and Israel share histories of tragedy having both experienced the worst human catastrophes of the 20th century, the Holocaust and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Amb. Elron Yoram, the Head of African Division at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who officiated at the ceremony, lamented the passiveness of the international community, which just watched on as people were being slaughtered.
“Today should be dedicated to reflecting on the atrocities of the Genocide and the importance of working together to avoid its recurrence anywhere in the world,” he said, adding that the commemoration should also be an opportunity to reflect on Rwanda’s inspiring story of reconciliation and nation-building.
Yoram expressed admiration for Rwanda, that has not only managed to survive after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, but also to successfully bring about reconciliation and healing.
He also reiterated that the two countries had similarities, emphasising that Rwanda is a key ally of Israel in Africa, citing the recently opened first resident embassy of Israel in Kigali.