Israeli defense delegation heads to Sudan before establishing formal ties

Delegation to discuss defense ties as the two sides work out formal diplomatic relations.

By World Israel News Staff

An Israeli delegation is expected in Khartoum to discuss defense ties with Sudan although the two countries have not yet formalized diplomatic ties, a Reuters report said .

A small group of security officials will travel to Sudan to discuss defense ties, with a larger civilian delegation to arrive in Sudan later this month to discuss trade and development issues, according to the report.

The first delegation of defense experts will be led by a Mossad agent known by the code name “Stronghold,” who has apparently been heading the Israel government contacts with Khartoum for some time. Those efforts led to the recent public announcement by Sudan’s leaders that the country would establish diplomatic relations with Israel, Israel Hayom reported.

The larger civilian delegation is expected to discuss trade and economic development, water technology and agriculture.

An Israeli freelance reporter who traveled to Khartoum found traces of the abandoned Jewish community that once numbered 1,000 members.

“There was no religious rivalry until the Muslim Brotherhood arrived,” a local guide told Israeli reporter Ziv Genesove.

The reporter found local resident Mustafa Muhammad David Israel, a Muslim whose last name was from his Jewish grandfather. One of his sons, Isaac Israel, related how his family name resulted in problems but also provoked his curiousity.

“As a child I saw everywhere that Israel is an enemy and not a country that could be our friend. Childhood in Sudan was very difficult. Because if anyone heard Israel he would be upset,” he said in Genesove’s report shown on Channel 11.

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“My father was ashamed to talk about Judaism, he tried to protect us. There was no religious freedom in Sudan,” Isaac said, saying he discovered a different Israel by reading the Israel Foreign Ministry Facebook page in Arabic.

“For me, Israel is not the enemy. Thanks to social networks, we know Israel more and more. I follow Israel’s page in Arabic,” Isaac said. “I kept hearing that they were our enemies, but that’s not what I saw … We think normalization is a great thing, we hope there will be embassies and missions, the whole nation should accept the idea.”