By Fortune Abang
Abuja, Sept. 30, 2020 Israel has congratulated the government and people of Nigeria on the 60th anniversary of independence , while extolling the bilateral cooperation between the two countries since 1960.
The congratulatory message is contained in a statement by Mr Shimon Ben-Shoshan, Ambassador of the State of Israel to Nigeria.
Ben-Shoshan, also Permanent Representative of Israel to ECOWAS, commended the diplomatic relations between Israel and Nigeria to have been mutual and prayed for the progress and prosperity of Nigerians at large.
“Unfortunately this year’s celebration is taking place under the shadow and restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wish to express my sympathy for those who have lost their loved ones and for those who are recovering; may all the people of Nigeria be blessed with health and resilience.
“This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Israel; I am proud to note with satisfaction the strong diplomatic relations and friendship that exist today between our countries.
“I also witnessed growth of the bilateral cooperation over the last 60 years, this was achieved through advancements in areas of common interests such as agriculture, water, education, health, innovation, security, infrastructures and culture.”
He attributed success been recorded by the embassy on various projects and initiatives implemented in 2019 to be based on mutual cooperation between both countries.
He listed such projects such as, distribution of thousands of 3D-printed protective face masks for medical staff at the frontline, to have been developed in Israel and manufactured in Nigeria.
“Donation of food items to over 3,000 Nigerian children and families in need during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
“Provision of education through online courses, lectures, seminars and distant trainings, organisation of Israel-Nigeria ‘Agrinnovation through the Office of the Vice President.
“fi-FAlR’-Innovation Fellowship for aspiring inventors and researchers through collaboration through the Office of the Vice President, which is ongoing till Oct. 31 and annual National Old Testament Bible Contest, whereby winners will visit Israel’s holy sites.
“Inter-Faith talks which bridged the gaps between the three major faiths Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” he added.
He expressed hope that future anniversary celebrations would be marked on grounds of direct flights between Nigeria and Israel with ‘Air-Peace’, expansion of tourism opportunities for Nigerians to visit holy sites in Israel and start-up programmes.