Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a joint news conference Wednesday with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame that neither of their nations can afford to “outsource [their] safety and security.”
Netanyahu and his wife Sara were welcomed by Kagame and his wife upon their arrival on Wednesday morning. The two leaders met privately at the Rwandan president’s residence after a visit to the memorial museum, where Netanyahu signed a guest book in a wing dedicated to the Rwandan genocide. He also saw the wing dedicated to genocide in other countries and the Children’s Room at the museum.
The two leaders met privately at the Rwandan president’s residence after a visit to the memorial museum. Netanyahu signed a guest book in a wing dedicated to the Rwandan genocide. He also saw the wing dedicated to genocide in other countries and the Children’s Room at the museum.
Speaking to reporters after the visit, Netanyahu said he was “deeply impressed” with the country, calling “vibrant” and “resolute.” He complimented the president, saying the nation and people have accomplished “amazing things, and these achievements are even more impressive given the horrors that you had to overcome.”
Speaking at a joint news conference following the visit to the museum, Netanyahu called the morning’s tour “exceptionally moving, jolting even… to see the pictures of children, sometimes babies, their briefest life stories put before us. Families that were cut down by neighbors, murdered by people, they lived next to them all their lives. And there are haunting evocations of your tragedy with our tragedy.
“My people know the pain of genocide as well, and this is a unique bond that neither one of our peoples would prefer to have. Yet we both persevered. Despite the pain and despite the horror, we survived. We never lost hope; and you never lost hope.
“Today Israel and Rwanda are successful states and models for progress. We have learned, both our peoples, I think a valuable lesson from our tragic pasts: Genocide is preceded by incitement to mass murder. Words matter. They have the power to kill. And broadcast words, whether on the radio or now through other means, they have the power to kill even further.
“In Rwanda, radio broadcasts dehumanized people long before they were slaughtered. You asked for those broadcasts to be stopped as part of your battle against genocide, and you were unsuccessful.
“The Nazis too began dehumanizing Jews long before they started murdering millions of our people. So today, when we see leaders in Gaza calling for the murder of every Jew around the world, we all have a duty to speak out. When we hear the Supreme Leader of Iran calling for the annihilation of Israel, we have a duty to speak out. We have a duty to alert the world to the danger of these hateful words.
“This the first lesson we learned, but we learned another one and that in difficult times, we must be able to defend ourselves by ourselves. In Rwanda, UN peacekeepers failed to keep the peace. They not only failed to keep the peace, they failed to respond to urgent calls for salvation against an impending genocide. They ran away. We cannot, neither one of us, outsource our safety and our security,” Netanyahu warned.Hana Levi Julian