South Sudan president visits Israel

The president of the new country of South Sudan arrived in Israel for a short working visit during which the possibility of repatriating Sudanese infiltrators to the country was reportedly discussed.

Salva Kiir met Dec. 20 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who offered to send a government delegation to South Sudan to assess how Israel can help the new country, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Kiir also met with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and visited Yad Vashem. His visit lasted less than 24 hours.

“I am very moved to be in Israel and to walk on the soil of the Promised Land,”

Kiir told Peres, according to a statement from the president’s office. “Israel has always supported the South Sudanese people. Without you, we would not have arisen … and we are interested in learning from your experience … as a nation that rose from dust, and as the few who fought the many.”

Peres returned the sentiments and also presented Kiir with an antique menorah, in honor of the start of Chanukah. — jta