Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Libya’s Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush held talks last week in an historic first-ever meeting between foreign ministers from the two nations.

During their the meeting, the two ministers discussed the historical ties between the nations, the heritage of the Libyan Jews, and the possibility of cooperation between the countries and Israeli aid in humanitarian issues, agriculture, water management and more.


“The historic meeting with the Foreign Minister of Libya, Najla Mangoush, is the first step in the relationship between Israel and Libya,” Cohen noted Sunday in a statement to journalists.

Mangoush is based in Tripoli.

The size and strategic location of the African nation give enormous importance and enormous potential for ties between Libya and the State of Israel.

“I spoke with the foreign minister about the great potential for the two countries with their relations, as well as the importance of preserving the heritage of Libyan Jewry, which includes renovating synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in the country,” Cohen said.

“I thank the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Taiani, for hosting the historic meeting in Rome.”

The ministry is working with a series of countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia with the aim of expanding the circle of peace and normalization of Israel, Cohen added.

Mangoush, 50, was born in Wales (UK) and returned with her family to Benghazi in Libya at the age of six. She studied at EMU University in Virginia and specialized in conflict resolution.

The first woman to serve as foreign minister, Mangoush began her political career in Libya following the ouster of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. She has served as Foreign Minister in the Tripoli government under the leadership of Prime Minister Alhamid Dabiba since the establishment of the consensus government in March 2021.

A significant Jewish community lived in Libya until the beginning of the 1950s. Many Libyan Jews immigrated to Israel starting in the 1930s and in the first years after the establishment of the state.

The political system in Libya at present is divided, while the ceasefire between the West (Tripoli) and the East (Bengazi) that was reached at the end of 2020 is being maintained.

Libya is the fourth largest country on the African continent with a population of about six million people, strategically located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

In the last year, Libya produced about 1.2 million barrels of oil per day.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.