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Bob Geldof: ‘You are leaders in high-tech, agriculture, desert development – Africa needs you,’ he says

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May 30, 2011
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‘Don’t turn your back on Africa’

Irish musician, humanitarian Bob Geldof speaks at Israeli Involvement in Africa Conference, calls on gov’t to increase foreign aid to impoverished region despite domestic problems. ‘You are leaders in high-tech, agriculture, desert development – Africa needs you,’ he says

“Your essence as a state is not to sink into a closed-camp mentality. The Jewish people are famous for their use of culture and intellect to absorb, integrate, learn and teach. This is what your people do – don’t make them force you into turning your backs to the world,” said Irish musician Bon Geldof to an audience of several hundred social activists, businessmen and academics who gathered at the Israeli Involvement in Africa conference, held in Herzliya on Sunday.

This place is ridden with existential problems, Geldof said, as he recounted his last visit to Israel as a businessman, noting that his PR aide had to abandon the team in order to report for reserve duty, following the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War.

The Irish singer enjoyed loud applause as he called on the Israeli government to increase its foreign aid to Africa, saying it was in the Jewish State’s interest. You are leaders in high-tech, agriculture and development of the desert – Africa needs you, Geldof noted.

Someone once told me that just because we lie in the gutter, doesn’t mean we can’t look at the stars above, he said, adding that in spite of the many difficulties, paying attention to a suffering continent reveals a noble spirit.

Geldof, 60, arrived in Israel to participate in the conference organized by IsraAID, an Israeli forum for international humanitarian aid, sponsored by the Pratt Foundation.

He participated in a panel dealing with artists and media reporters as agents of change, alongside journalists Itai Anghel and Nadav Eyal, and musician Idan Raichel.

On Monday, Geldof will visit the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, which was recently boycotted by the University of Johannesburg in South African. Geldof said he is honored to be a guest of the university particularly at this time.

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