1st Edition

Israeli Development Aid to Sub-Saharan Africa Soft Power and Foreign Policy

By Karolina Zielińska Copyright 2021
    334 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    334 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book deals with Israeli development aid to Sub-Saharan Africa countries as a part of Israeli foreign policy.

    The analysis is framed by the concept of soft power: an assumption that development cooperation increases attractiveness of the donor and contributes to constructive bilateral and multilateral relations. Israel is a particular case of a donor, as it concentrates on technical aid and its aid is motivated by a particular set of ideological and pragmatic motives.Covering the period since the 1950s till today, the book analyses particular Israeli resources relevant for African development and the system and contents of Israeli development aid, with a particular focus on a new phenomenon of the engagement of businesses and NGOs.Zielińska explores the geopolitical context of Israeli aid for Sub-Saharan countries and the recipients’ perception of Israeli aid; asking if and how these attitudes influence the recipients’ behaviour towards Israel within their bilateral relations as well as on multilateral forums.

    Contributing to the knowledge of development diplomacy as a form of expression of soft power and as a tool of foreign policy, it will be of interest to international relations’ students and faculty as well as to other people professionally dealing with Israeli foreign policies.


    Chapter 1 – Theoretical basis and key definitions

    Chapter 2 – Foreign policy of the State of Israel

    2.1 Evolving Israeli identity and security considerations

    2.2 Sub-Saharan Africa countries in Israeli foreign policy

    Chapter 3 – Soft power of the state of Israel as a resource for development aid and public diplomacy

    3.1 Development needs of Sub-Saharan Africa countries

    3.2 Israeli soft power resources: qualitative and SWOT analyses

    Chapter 4 – Israeli development aid

    4.1 Israel as a donor

    4.2 Israeli development aid to Sub-Saharan Africa countries

    Chapter 5 – Israeli public diplomacy

    5.1 Overview

    5.2 Israel’s development diplomacy

    Chapter 6 – Geopolitical considerations affecting Israeli relations with Sub-Saharan Africa countries

    Chapter 7 – International behaviours of Sub-Saharan beneficiaries

    7.1 Bilateral relations

    7.2 Multilateral forums

    7.3 People-to-People relations and public opinion

    Chapter 8 – Development aid to Sub-Saharan Africa countries as an element of Israeli soft-power


    Karolina Zielińska is currently a research fellow in the Israel Research programme at the Centre for Eastern Studies in Warsaw, Poland.

    "The last decade saw increasing cooperation between Israel and many actors in the world, including ones that once were considered its enemies. One of the least covered aspects of this tendency are warming ties with the sub-Saharan Africa’s countries. The book contributes substantially to tracking and explaining this process. The Author provides us with a very detailed assessment of Israeli engagement with African partners and its future potential. The work is also important to the general study of the Jewish state’s soft power." - Dr Artur Skorek, Jagiellonian University, Poland.

    "This is a comprehensive study of Israeli development assistance to Sub-Saharan African states covering a 50-year period (1956-2016), with some mild updates reaching to the beginning of 2019.  It is cast in a broad, realistic neo-liberal conceptual framework which seeks to understand much of the ongoing relations between states in pragmatic terms and, specifically, as a by product of the capacity to muster "soft-power" to enhance reciprocity in the international arena.…the result is a meticulous, detailed work with refreshing information on the scope and character of Israeli technical assistance projects in Africa during the past three decades." - Prof. Naomi Chazan, The Academic College of Tel Aviv - Yafo, Israel.

    "Israel’s size, in terms of population and geography is massively over-represented in the international media. As the holy land of two major world religions and the homeland of a people who have suffered centuries of oppression, culminating in the Holocaust, the world’s attention is very much on Israel. Equally, the hostility of the Islamic world (in general) to the country is and has been a dominant theme since the State of Israel’s inception. Israel has a remarkable ability to induce both feelings of empathy, admiration, respect, and awe, but also antagonism and hatred. This dualistic approach to the country by different elements of international society complicates its foreign policy and Israel, perhaps more than any other nation, has had to work hard to promote itself at the global level.…Israel has the potential to become a regional soft-power player. (…) Israel’s highly developed science and technology industry, including its hospitals, universities, high-techs and laboratories, is looked upon as a role model. Israel’s advanced fields can be leveraged in order to improve relationships and deepen interchange with Africa." - Prof. Ian Taylor, University of St. Andrews, UK.