At its most populous, the Jewish community in Sudan numbered no more than 1,000 individuals, far less than the 260,000 Moroccan Jews or 135,000 Algerian Jews who existed at the same time. The Jewish community in Sudan disolved after Sudan gained independence and joined the Arab league in 1956 , with about 500 individuals making Aliyah to Israel and the rest dispersing around the world.
Israeli President Peres with South Sudanese President Kiir (Dec 2011)
In December 2011, President Kiir maed his first official visit to Israel during a whirlwind 24-hour trip in which he met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Lieberman.
"I am very moved to come to Israel and to walk on the soil of the promised land," President Kiir said. "As a nation that rose from dust, and as the few who fought the many, you have established a flourishing country that offers a future and economic prosperity to its children, I have come to see your success."
"This is a moving and historic moment for me and for the State of Israel," President Peres noted. "Israel's link with Sudan began when Prime Minister Levy Eshkol and I, as Deputy Defense Minister, met in the 1960's, in Paris, with local leaders from southern Sudan. We provided them with extensive assistance in agriculture and infrastructures. Israel has supported, and will continue to support, your country in all areas in order to strengthen and develop it. We know that you courageously and wisely struggled against all odds to establish your country and for us, the birth of South Sudan is a milestone in the history of the Middle East and in advancing the values of equality, freedom and striving for peace and good neighborly relations."
In more concrete developments, Netanyahu announced that an Israeli delegation would go to South Sudan in the begining of 2012 in order to check on how to assist the South Sudan people, who have suffered greatly in recent years, in developing their new country.
Sources: - AFP, "South Sudan Leader Makes First Visit to Israel," Yahoo News, (December 20, 2011).
- "President Peres and PM Netanyahu Meet with South Sudan President Kiir," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (December 20, 2011).
- "Goverment Vows to Establish Embassy in Jerusalem and Not Tel Aviv," Sudan Tribune, (August 29, 2011).
- "The World Factbook: South Sudan," CIA, (November 10, 2011).
- Wikipedia: South Sudan
- Photo of Pres. Peres and Kiir courtesy of the Israeli GPO