And Mr. Netanyahu’s close relationship with President Trump has given him added cachet with African leaders eager to find favor with the White House.
On the civilian side, Israeli advances in drip-irrigation, desalination and water-purification technology promise to enhance agriculture in arid regions. Israel’s small renewable-energy industry first brought solar power to Rwanda in 2015. and a year ago, Israel signed on to the American-led Power Africa initiative to bring electricity to 60 million homes.
The country’s engagement in Africa may actually be coming full circle.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Israeli and African leaders bonded over their nations’ anticolonial struggles as Israel aided African armies and paramilitary organizations. The Arab boycott in the 1970s led to pressure on African leaders to cut ties with Israel, and Israel’s response — forging close ties with what was then the apartheid government of South Africa — only worsened its standing elsewhere on the continent.
Israeli officials can barely contain their glee at seeing the once-solid ideological support for the Palestinians give way to flexible geopolitics.
“When these guys would get together at the Organization of African States, now the African Union, this was some of the paste that binded them together,” said Dore Gold, a former director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “But things have changed completely. They really don’t buy into this anymore,” he said.
“The militant Arabs, our adversaries, have less to offer the Africans. And we have a great deal to offer,” Mr. Gold said.
He recalled taking a team of emissaries to Chad in 2016 and meeting for talks at an oasis in the Sahara, where one of his counterparts mentioned that the nations’ diplomatic ties had been severed in 1972 under pressure from Muammar el-Qaddafi, then the Libyan dictator.
“I said, ‘Qaddafi’s dead, Libya itself is falling apart.’ So they said to me, ‘That’s why you’re here.’”