Meet Eyal David Israel Deputy ambassador to Kenya: From Israel to Kenya with love
From the incredible landscapes, amazing safari opportunities, fantastic hiking and world-class beaches, the country seems to always leave a delightful taste in the mouth of many foreigners who visit for entertainment, diplomacy or work like Eyal David Israel Deputy ambassador to Kenya, who’s completing his three-year term in the country recounts.
Harriet James @harriet86jim
In August last year, when Eyal David, the Israel deputy ambassador to Kenya visited Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Central Kenya’s Laikipia county, he did not anticipate that he would get so many likes on his photos and reviews he had posted online about his trip, from not only his countrymen in Israel, but also Kenyans.
He had travelled and reviewed several other destinations in the country before, but this particular trip changed his whole perspective and discovered just how significant travel is in connecting his country, Israel with Kenya.
“I found that when I post about my travels and how I enjoy my stay in the country, it made me connect with my people in Israel and Kenyans,” he narrates.
“Kenyans told me where to visit when I’m in their backyards and the people in Israel would not hide their excitement and desire to want to visit Kenya once the pandemic is over, just to have the Kenyan experience,” he adds.
Since then, he has toured different parts of the country and says he finds it difficult to pick one particular destination as his favourite, because every place has its own charm.
And just one month to go until he completes his term in Kenya, David who documents his tours across the country and passion for Kenya on his Twitter account, wonders why he did not travel more earlier.
Into sports activities
Having a huge portfolio, because the Israel embassy in Kenya covers Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Seychelles, David sets aside time out of his tight schedule on weekends to explore the region’s beauty and culture.
He has also participated in sports, yoga, as well as cycling and his boss, ambassador Oded Joseph, encourages his passion for hiking.
“I have been to the Masai Mara National Reserve several times and even got to watch the wildebeest migration.
I have also toured the vast Samburu, Nakuru and Amboseli National Parks and saw the big five.
In the coast, I have been to Diani and have been mesmerised by the dolphins. It is a sight to behold.
Covering the four other countries has also made me extend my travels to those countries and I have been able to explore the different experiences that the countries have to offer.
I have also toured South Africa, Eswatini, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe where I did bungee jumping at the great Victoria falls,” he says.
His latest adventure with his friends was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. “The trip was the toughest venture that I have ever done.
I always marveled at the beauty of the majestic mountain whenever I was on a plane and how it stands tall above the clouds.
I said to myself that it would be my next challenge and dedicated my Christmas holiday vacation to climb it,” he narrates.
Although he didn’t arrive at the very peak of the mountain, he got to Stella Point (5,756 metres) and not to Uhuru Peak (5,895 meters), because of the heavy snow.
What kept him going and not quit the tough climb, he says were encouraging messages from his Kenyan fans and his family who kept cheering him on.
“It took four days up and two days down and I can say it wasn’t a walk in the park.
Not all people can reach the peak, because of the elevation and lack of oxygen as you you climb higher up the mountain. Even worse, there was also no mobile phone reception,” he recalls.
He has also been on a game drive at the Ngorogoro crater and he hopes to climb Mount Kenya soon, having almost conquered the hardest challenge, Mount Kilimanjaro.
David’s love for Kenya was exhibited in 2018 when he was asked by the Israeli Government about where he wanted to be posted for an ambassadorial job and he listed Kenya as his first choice.
“When they asked me where I wanted to serve, I gave Nairobi as my number one choice.
I didn’t know how this place was and I hadn’t been here before, but there was a charm that appealed to me about coming to Kenya at least once in my life and three years down the line, I haven’t regretted it ever since,” he says.
He had just started his PhD on the Jewish community in Sub Saharan Africa, when he received the news that he had been accepted to the prestigious Cadet Course of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He loves the fact that Nairobi was his first diplomatic posting since it’s the hub for the region and is also the base for the Israeli embassy in East Africa.
David feels that his studies equipped him for his work as a diplomat, as besides the good bilateral ties that Israel enjoys with each of the five countries that the Embassy is accredited to, he also has to connect with the citizens.
He says Kenya and Israel have strong ties due to the fact that many Kenyans have a special and warm place in their hearts for Israel, the holy land, and wish to learn more about how they have made the desert bloom and became the famous “Start-Up Nation”.
Direct flights to Israel
There are also 100 Kenyan students who travel to Israel every year to undergo 11-month paid agricultural internship and when they are back – they help Kenya’s food security efforts and this, too, broaden the connection, together with the various development programs that the Embassy and Mashav (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation) run with their local counterparts all over the country.
However, one of the challenges affecting smooth integration between the two countries, David says is the fact that there are no direct flights from Nairobi to Tel Aviv.
The quickest flight takes about nine hours and has one stop over. Currently, most passengers travelling to Israel from Kenya use Rwanda Air or Ethiopian Airways, the only flights in East Africa that fly to the country.
“The ambassador is presently working towards having more direct flights from the region to Israel.
The first country, which began direct flights was Seychelles, which started from 2019 and we are working hard that Kenya Airways also begins the same,” he notes, adding, “When you are a diplomat you move from one place to another and it’s exciting because you always get to know new peoples, cultures and places while having the honor to serve your beloved Country,” he says in ending.