Israel and Zimbabwe established formal diplomatic relations in 1993. Prior to Zimbabwe's independence, Israel sold weapons and military equipment to the White-minority government of Rhodesia, which was involved in the Rhodesian Bush War.
In the 1980s, the Mugabe government was a supporter of the PLO under Yasser Arafat. Zimbabwe formally established relations with the PLO in March 1983. Israeli relations with South Africa in the 1970s led to Zimbabwe's verbal support for the PLO and comparisons of Zionism to apartheid. The state-run publication, The Herald, questioned the legitimacy of Israel's existence.
In October 1983, Abel Muzorewa, the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia, visited Israel. He urged Robert Mugabe to establish diplomatic relations, saying his political policies hurt Zimbabwe's agriculture and technology industries. Muzorewa was imprisoned that year for alleged conspiracy with Israel and South Africa.
Zimbabwe is not a party to boycotts on Israel. In March 2002 an Israeli company sold riot control vehicles to the Mugabe government. In 2008, a Zimbabwean business delegation visited Israel for a week to explore new trade opportunities in the spheres of agriculture, telecommunications, cosmetics and solar energy. The tour was organized by the Christian Friends of Israel Zimbabwe.
At a meeting in Tel Aviv in June 2010, Israel declared its support for Zimbabwe's inclusion in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, stating that Zimbabwe is capable of supplying nearly a quarter of the global demand for diamonds.
- Zimbabwe, Jewish Virtual Library
- Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin (1988). The Israeli Connection: Whom Israel Arms and Why. pp. 62–63.
- Schwartz, Richard (2001). Coming to Terms: Zimbabwe in the International Arena. pp. 157–161.
- Choosing Mugabe
- US Economic Sanctions and Anti-Boycott Laws
- "Zimbabwe: Israel to sell heavy riot control vehicles to Mugabe government". Southern African Documentation and Cooperation Centre Dokumentations. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- Zimbabwe business delegation set to leave for Israel
- Israel backs Zim diamonds