Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to fly to the African republic of Chad on Saturday, marking the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to the Muslim-majority country since Golda Meir's visit in 1969.
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Back in November, the prime minister’s office announced that Netanyahu will fly to N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, to announce the recommencement of diplomatic relations, 47 years after Chad severed its ties with Israel. In December, Netanyahu announced that Chad was allowing Israel’s national airline El Al to fly over its airspace.
Idriss Deby, Chad’s president since 1990, visited Israel in November to discuss security cooperation and joint struggles against terrorism with Netanyahu.
In November, Reuters reported that Israel has sent arms to Chad earlier this year to assist with the fight against rebels in the country’s northern region. In a statement released during Deby’s visit, Tamar Zandberg, leader of left-wing party Meretz, criticized Netanyahu, warning that the advancement of diplomatic ties with Chad will have Israeli arms “sold to persecute political opponents, human rights activists, and journalists.”
Located in central Africa, Chad has a population of approximately 15.8 million, of which 52% are Muslims. The country’s official languages are French and Arabic. Only 22% of the country’s citizens are literate, and the country’s GDP per capita is $777.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated Netanyahu was the first sitting Israeli Prime Minister to visit Chad