By Lizzy Okoji
Bilateral relations and trade between Israel and Nigeria will rise with the commencement of direct flights between the two countries from March, according to Israeli authorities.
Ms Sharon Bar-Li, Deputy Director-General, African Department, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said this while meeting with some Nigerian journalists on a media tour to Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Bar- Li said that the direct flights would further cement the relations between Africa and the Middle East.
“Once we are able to inaugurate direct flights between Nigeria and Israel we are going to see a boost because right now, there is no gate way for Israel into Africa.
“As a former Ambassador to Ghana I can tell you that it is very difficult once you do not have a direct flight. Once this route starts working, we are going to see a huge change.
“We are going to see business flourishing; people will be able to come and go easily. We will see a pilgrimage,” she said.
The director-general said Nigeria was a very religious country and the citizens, both Christians and Muslims, went to Israel on pilgrimage.
“Do not forget that Jerusalem is a sacred place for free religions, not just to Christianity, not just to Judaism, but also to Islam where people come to mount to do little hajj.
“By March, I really hope to be able to welcome to Israel the Minister who will come on the first flight to inaugurate this route. It will be a very profitable route with a high demand for it.
“The eagerness to open this new route is a good sign for post-COVID-19 recovery,” Bar-Li said.
She said that the operation of a direct flight between Israel and Nigeria would break all trade barriers, lamenting the minimal trade between both countries which had been on the low in recent years.
“The trade is very minimal and I am hopeful that with this direct flight we will have no more excuses,” she added ( NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ejike Obeta