(JNS.org) The president of Ivory Coast's National Assembly legislature, Guillaume Kigbafori Soro, said his country wants to learn from Israel how to fight terrorism.
“The so called 'Arab Spring' was started by young people, and in Africa unemployed young people are the infrastructure for terrorist recruitment,” Soro, who is leading a delegation to the Jewish state from the West African nation, said in a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
In a speech welcoming the delegation, Rivlin pointed out that both Israel and Ivory Coast are democracies navigating challenging circumstances. In Israel, “we have the problem of two nations in one state,” he said, as well as an economic gap between the rich and the poor.
“These are both problems that pose a danger for democracy,” said Rivlin, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Rivlin added that neither Israel’s nor Ivory Coast’s democracies are perfect, but “we have nothing better,” and that Israel’s relationship with Ivory Coast and with Africa as a whole is a very important one.
Soro told Rivlin that his country will try to help Israel gain observer status in the African Union, and that the Ivory Coast delegation was impressed by the Israeli people’s ability to achieve as much as they have in the short existence of their country despite enduring hardships.
The delegation also visited the olive tree planted in Israel by Ivory Coast’s first president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny. He planted the tree in 1962, two years after Ivory Coast became independent, and donated a forest of 10,000 trees to Israel. Houphouet-Boigny planted the first trees in that forest with Israel’s second president, Yitzhak Ben Zvi.