New Argentinian president Milei a fan of Israel, admires Jewish values

It’s an historic time in Argentina, where two vastly different parties contested the presidency of the country. Sergio Massa, the current minister of economy from the Peronist party, garnered 44.31% of the votes, whereas congressman Javier Milei, from the Libertarian Liberal party, secured a 55.69% majority of the votes. Argentina opted for a change, facing rising inflation and various corruption cases within the government, among other reasons.

Milei’s triumph implies a shift in Argentina’s relationship with the world. The newly elected president stated during his political campaign that he would not officially engage with states that do not favor freedom and democracy. He would vehemently sever ties with states that support terrorism, and he would assuredly break the close official relationships the country still maintains with China. He also promised to take distance from Iran.

Moreover, throughout his campaign, he exhibited great admiration for the state of Israel’s culture and people, and how the state aligns with spiritual values. He defended Israel’s right to self-defense and condemned Islamic terrorism, which earned him much criticism.

He was among the first politicians who unequivocally supported Israel in the ongoing war against Hamas and emphasized the urgent need to rescue all hostages captured by the terrorist organization. During his visits to various cities across the country, whenever someone handed him the Israeli flag, he enthusiastically took it and waved it.

Moreover, he studies Torah with his own rabbi and has even contemplated converting to Judaism. In one of the interviews he gave, he even stated that after finishing his political career, he would like to dedicate himself deeply to the study of the Torah.

FILE PHOTO: Argentine president-elect Javier Milei addresses supporters after winning Argentina’s runoff presidential election, in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 19, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/Cristina Sille)

Paradigm shift for the Jewish community

The incoming new government signifies a paradigm shift for the Jewish community. Peronist governments have, until now, been characterized by their relations with Venezuela and its ties with Iran. The current government has condemned Israel on several occasions, sparking antisemitism in various Argentine sectors. However, this is apparently about to change.

Milei has confirmed that he will travel to Israel and the United States before the 10th of December, the date when he will assume office. “My first trip will be to the US and I’ll also be traveling to Israel. Those are the initial trips I’ll be making. Everything will take place before I assume office,” he stated in a radio interview.

Israeli Ambassador to Argentina Eli Cohen congratulated Milei for his victory and extended an invitation for him to visit Israel soon and inaugurate Argentina’s embassy in Jerusalem, one of the promises he made during his campaign.

His latest religious trip was made a few weeks ago, when Milei, accompanied by his sister Karina, visited El Ohel in New York, the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. At the pilgrimage, he was seen wearing a kippah and carrying religious books.

It is undeniable that the change in government will likely lead to closer relations between the state and the Jewish community in general. Considering the global rise in antisemitism that the Jewish people has endured since the beginning of the war against Hamas, it seems given that the new government will support Israel’s right to exist, to defend itself, and at the same time safeguard and promote religious freedom.

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