At a time when foreign politicians have been sailing toward Gaza to embarrass Israel, 300 people, including 60 senators and congressmen from 14 Latin American countries and five European nations, arrived here on Sunday on a four-day solidarity mission.
The group will meet with cabinet members, MKs, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Noam Schalit, father of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. They will also tour the Knesset and hold a conference aimed at advancing shared values on a broad spectrum of political, legal and social issues.
“We are truly grateful to see the growing regional and global support demonstrated this year at the 2010 Jerusalem International Conference,” said Dr. William Soto, international director and founder of Amisrael, the nonprofit organization that sponsored the mission. “It is reassuring to see that so many world leaders have come together to address these very important issues, based on a spirit of cooperation and on our shared values.
Amisrael, which is based in Brazil, established the Jerusalem
International Conference as a key annual event bringing together
government ministers, legislative and judicial officials, and academic
leaders from across the continent to mobilize support for peace and
general humanitarian values.
While the annual conference has been known in recent years as the
largest gathering of Latin American politicians in Israel, the event
this year is distinguished by having attracted the participation of
several European delegates as well.
A spokesman for the mission said last week’s Gaza flotilla would be a
key issue at the conference, along with Iran’s progressing nuclear
program and hostile rhetoric directed against Israel. As much of Latin
America has been perceived as a pro-Iranian bloc on these issues,
Amisrael and the delegates have come to demonstrate to the world that
this is not the case.