The diplomatic relations between Ghana and Israel shall continue to thrive to transform Ghana’s abundant and untapped natural resources to improve quality of life of the people.
Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the relations began in 1958 when the Israeli Premier David Ben Gurion sent a Piper Cub plane as a personal gift to Premier Kwame Nkrumah on the occasion of Ghana’s first anniversary of independence.
Madam Bar-Li said the gift marked the beginning of Ghana and Israel relations that subsequently followed with the training of agricultural experts and the establishment of a labour brigade.
This relation, she said, resulted in sharing of unparalleled Israeli expertise in Agricultural Engineering with Ghana and many students were sent to Israel to study Agricultural program.
She said it was natural that Israel after rising from poverty with a lot of experience understood the plight of other developing nations and that Israel felt the responsibility to share with these nations its experience and expertise to transform their economies.
The Ambassador said that through creativity, determination and innovation, Israel was able to take advantage of its human resource to transform infertile and rocky land into an arable one.
She said since January, about 100 Ghanaians have been sent to Israel to be trained in various fields including studies in post-harvest loses, early child hood education, emergency medicines, irrigation and climate change.
Madam Bar-Li said the Childhood Education Programme, which started in Kumasi in about 30 schools and over 100 teachers participating, has been scaled up in Accra with the intension of expanding it further to Tamale.
The Early Childhood Development Programme is being implemented by the Israeli Development Agency, MASHAV, which is working with Government to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
The Ambassador said Israel was also working with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and German Development Agency to improve the yield and quality of citrus in Ghana.
She said an Israeli company will also be constructing a state-of-the-art 600-bed teaching hospital at the University of Ghana, which is being financed by Israel’s leading Bank, Bank Hapoalim, with Sheeba Medical Centre involved in the training the health personnel.
She said through mutual high-level visits, joint ventures, economic fairs and exhibitions and through the encouragement of governmental as well as private sector and people-to-people relations, Israeli-Ghanaian diplomatic relations is expected to be sustained.
Madam Sharon Bar-Li said Ghana can count on Israel in times of difficulties as was demonstrated during the Melcom disaster last November when Israeli team consisting of disaster management experts, medical doctors with trauma experts and rescue specialists assisted Ghana in the rescue operation.
She said Israel will always count on Ghana in hard times and commended Ghana’s military contribution to the United Nations Interim Force in the quest for lasting peace in South Lebanon.
In April 1959, Israel, with help from India, supervised the establishment of the Ghana Air Force, while a small Israeli team also trained aircraft maintenance personnel and radio technicians at the Accra-based Air Force Trade Training School.
Although the British persuaded Dr Nkrumah to withdraw Israeli advisers in 1960, Ghanaian pilots continued to receive some training at aviation schools in Israel.
In 2011, Israel officially reopened its embassy in Ghana, which was historically the first African state to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.