A meeting between the President of Guatemala with a group of leaders from the Mission of Gratitude and Solidarity with Guatemala.
(photo credit: FUENTE LATINA)
Leaders of Jewish and Christian communities in the US and Latin America met with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales over the weekend in a show of support for his decision to move the Guatemalan Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to pro-Israel NGO Fuente Latina, the meeting was part of a “mission of gratitude and solidarity with Guatemala” comprised of 70 people: representatives of international organizations, religious and community leaders, businessmen and citizens from the US, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, Argentina and the Dominican Republic.
The delegation arrived in Guatemala on Thursday and was received at the National Palace of Culture for a dinner with Morales, Vice President Jafeth Cabrera, Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel, Guatemalan Ambassador to Washington Manuel Espina, Israeli Ambassador to Guatemala Matanya Cohen and government secretaries, members of the Jewish community in Guatemala and Christian associations.
After dinner, several individual meetings were held during which representatives of the mission expressed their gratitude and support for Guatemala and its president.
Morales’s announcement last month that he would move the embassy made Guatemala the first country to follow in the footsteps of US President Donald Trump.
On Friday morning, the delegation held meetings in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where each member of the mission specified how they will offer their support to Guatemala. Additional solidarity events were held over the weekend.
Fuente Latina said the mission was the initiative of two American rabbis in response to political pressure exerted by groups which oppose the embassy move.
The group strives to show political leaders and the public that there is a strong support for Israel and for Jerusalem as its capital.
Among the group were leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the World Jewish Congress.
WJC-North America executive director Betty Ehringberg remarked: “I feel very honored to be part of such a special mission in Guatemala to express our gratitude to President Morales. We are here working together with the Latin Coalition for Israel, the American Jewish community and Jewish and Christian leaders, celebrating understanding and mutual respect, and hoping that there are more countries that will follow the example of Guatemala.”
Former US congresswoman Michele Bachmann also participated, declaring that the mission aimed to “thank all those who have made possible the decision to move the Guatemalan Embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel. Guatemala has a great record of supporting Israel since its inception in 1948.”
“God will bless Guatemala like never before. That’s what the Bible says, in Genesis 12:3: ‘Those who bless Israel will be blessed,’” she added.
Conference of Presidents executive vice chairman Malcolm Hoenlein participated along with board member Larry Magid, who remarked: “Israel is a country of spirituality, and with the relationships we can build with other nations of the world, we make Israel a stronger country that can offer its warmth to others.”
Guatemala was among the first countries to recognize the State of Israel in 1948 and was the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic relations with the new nation.
The Guatemalan Embassy was formerly located in Jerusalem, until the UN Security Council called upon all member states to move their diplomatic missions to Tel Aviv in 1980, following Israel’s passage of a law proclaiming Jerusalem its “indivisible and eternal capital.”