When the African Union announced it will grant Israel observer status July 22, the news caught many Israelis by surprise, though diplomats in the Africa division of the Foreign Ministry having been hard at work toward the goal for the last eight months.
Aliza Bin Noun, a former ambassador to Hungary and France who now heads the Africa division, expressed satisfaction. “I am very pleased that Israel is back to the African continent by means of becoming an observer state to the African Union. We are hoping to establish cooperation in a variety of fields such as economic development, fighting global terrorism, battling the coronavirus pandemic, health systems, smart agriculture and much more. This goes to show that Israel has a past in Africa, has a present and also has a great future ahead of it in the continent,” she told Al-Monitor.