Why Israel needs peace in Ethiopia

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There has been growing concern over the past year that a military conflagration could engulf the Horn of Africa, including Eritrea and Sudan.

The Egyptian army has already begun making preparations, and Cairo has even warned that if Ethiopia follows through with its plans to open the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (the al-Nahda Dam), which would cut off the Nile River’s water flow to Sudan and then Egypt downstream—it will have no choice but to respond with force.

Despite the geographical distance, Israel is finding itself involved in the war in Ethiopia. First, due to the Falash Mura community, who have ties to Judaism and want to immigrate to Israel. The realities of civil war, as we have seen play out in other parts of the world, motivate many people to suddenly rediscover the Jewish roots—putting Israel in a complicated position.

A bilateral relationship proved to be the most durable and became the cornerstone of Israel’s foreign policy towards various African nations.

Because of Ethiopia’s strategic location along the Red Sea: on one side of the sea Iran is establishing a menacing military presence in Yemen; on the other, Israel has managed to forge alliances with Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, and recently, with Sudan as well. All of this is now in jeopardy due to civil wars and internal conflicts afflicting these countries. 

Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that although the rising flames between Cairo and Addis Ababa threatened to consume Israel, both countries have asked the Jewish state for help and support.