ambassador of Israel to Senegal overseeing The Gambia, Roï Rosenblit and his
entire staff have paid tribute to Gambia’s former statesman Sir Dawda Kairaba
In a missive, Ambassador Rio quoted Jawara in Jerusalem in October 1966, after signing a Treaty of Friendship between The Gambia and Israel with Prime Minister Levy Eshkol that: “The idea of settling conflicts between peoples by peaceful means applies to all countries, in the Middle East as in Vietnam.”
He said that was Sir Dawda’s third visit to Jerusalem, his first foreign destination after being elected Prime Minister of the Gambia for the first time in 1962.
“Foreign Minister Golda Meir reciprocated, by being the first world leader to recognise The Gambia in a message to Sir Dawda, upon attaining independence in 1965. These special relations continued after Sir Dawda was elected first President of the Gambia in 1970.”
“It is not by chance, that Sir Dawda’s second name, after “King David” or “en-Nabi (Prophet) Dawood”, was Kairaba – “Peace” in the Mandinka language. Sir Dawda was among those rare statesmen who strived to lead their nation and their people to a better future and to prosperity, by seeking peace, cooperation, joining hands and building capacities together. In one of the pictures of those days, Sir Dawda is seen exploring Israel’s National Library in Jerusalem. In another, he is the keynote speaker in a conference on development in Israel.”
Sir Dawda, father of the Senegambia unity idea, he added saw clearly what brought together Israel and the Gambia, both struggling with difficult economic and geo-political conditions, both keen to share knowledge and to make the world better. He added that he signed agreements with Israel on cooperation in agriculture, irrigation, healthcare, training and education.
“The agreements Sir Dawda signed with Israel may be more than 50 years old, but their spirit lives on. Gambian children in Mansakonko are getting better education today thanks to an Israeli-Gambian project. Eleven Gambian graduate students in agriculture, six men and five women, just started a one-year paid training programme in Israel in advanced agro technologies for the first time.”