Tanzania and Israel have received yet another boost in their diplomatic ties after the former opened an embassy in Ramat Gan on Tuesday, becoming the 15th African state to open an embassy in Israel.
It is also the fourth to open a new embassy which is located along 12 Abba Hillel Silver Street in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv over the last three years.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, who is on his official first high level visit to Israel, graced the official launching of the embassy.
The opening of the embassy comes just two months after President John Magufuli met and held talks with Israel Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, at State House in Dar es Salaam.
On that occasion, the Tanzanian Head of State requested the guest to convey his message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to visit Tanzania and establish an embassy in the country, so that travellers could stop relying on an office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Israel does not have an embassy in Tanzania and is represented there by its embassy in Nairobi. When Mr Netanyahu met Dr Mahiga at a mini-summit with six African leaders at Entebbe in Kampala in 2016, he was promised that Tanzania would open an embassy in Israel.
In ensuring that the diplomatic ties between the two countries remained intact, Dr Magufuli appointed Mr Job Masima Tanzania’s Ambassador to Israel nine months ago and until Tuesday this week, he was operating from temporary offices.
In his speech during the official opening of the embassy, Dr Mahiga said the mission signified Tanzania’s commitment to its renewed friendship with Israel, asking Israel to similarly open the same in Tanzania.
The launching ceremony was attended by Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked who visited Tanzania two weeks ago, various ambassadors from African continent representing their countries in Israel, as well as Tanzanians living in that country.
According to Dr Mahiga, despite a few challenges, Israel had made tremendous strides in development and that it was a role model in sectors like agriculture and irrigation, fishing, industries, health, defence and security, ICTs and energy, among others.
The minister added that Israel was on record in Tanzania for having facilitated unity when it helped the country in the establishment of the National Service which was the second in uniting Tanzanians after the Kiswahili language.
In her remarks, the Israeli justice minister said at the ceremony that she hoped one day to see the Tanzanian flag fly in Jerusalem.
She expressed gratitude to Dr Magufuli for opening the embassy and hoped it would represent a significant enhancement of Israeli-Tanzanian cooperation.
The Tanzanian ambassador in Israel paid tribute to all the authorities in Israel for according him the necessary assistance, especially during the preparations for establishing the embassy. “
I want to urge Tanzanians, Israeli nationals and other stakeholders not to hesitate to visit the embassy when in need of any service,’’ Ambassador Masima remarked.