Bilateral relations and trade between Israel and Nigeria will rise with the commencement of direct flights between both countries as from March, Israeli authorities have said.
The Deputy Director General of the African Department in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Sharon Bar-Li, said this while meeting with some Nigerian journalists on a media tour yesterday in Jerusalem.
Bar-Li said the direct flights would further cement the relations between Africa and the Middle East.
“Once we are able to inaugurate direct flights between Nigeria and Israel, we are going to see a boost because right now, there is no gateway for Israel into Africa.
“As a former Ambassador to Ghana, I can tell you that it is very difficult once you do not have a direct flight. Once this route starts working, we are going to see a huge change.
“We are going to see business flourishing; people will be able to come and go easily. We will see a pilgrimage”she said.
The DG described Nigeria as a very religious country whose citizens, Christians and Muslims, go to Israel on pilgrimage.
“Do not forget that Jerusalem is a sacred place for three religions, not just to Christianity, not just to Judaism, but also to Islam, where people come to mount to do little hajj”.
Also, Israel has expressed its readiness to support Nigeria in intelligence sharing, modern combat equipment, and extraction of relevant information to effectively win the ongoing war against terrorism.
Retired Lt.-Col. Jonathan Konricus, who served in the Israeli Defence Force, said this in Jerusalem while addressing some Nigerian reporters in Israel on a media tour.
Answering questions on how Israel would support Nigeria in fighting terrorism and insecurity, Kornicous said: “What Israel has is a lot of experience”.
“Therefore, sharing knowledge, strategies, and tactics on how to deal with terror organizations is one.
“Second is training: how to train forces better. The second thing is how to train forces in order to deal with counter-terrorism or counter-guerrilla operations.
“Another thing is equipment. This is very important, with intelligence and combat equipment as well as how to collect intelligence on your enemies and how to have the firepower and necessary tools to strike the enemy.
“Those are three elements that Israel can and is involved in few of the cases.
“Intelligence is key and Israel spends a quarter of its defence budget on generating intelligence, sensors, analysis, and manpower. That is what really gives us the upper hand against our enemies.
“However, it is very key, especially in fighting terror organisations that are using civilians to make it impossible to distinguish between civilians and combatants.
“For any nation to effectively combat terror organizations, you need equipment, you need manpower, you need the manpower to be trained adequately in other to deal effectively with counter terror operations”, Kornicous said.