It took a sitting Israeli prime minister 69 years to visit Latin America, but now it appears that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can’t get enough, announcing on Wednesday he will travel to Guatemala in November.
In a sign of warming ties with Latin America, and an apparent gesture of thanks to Guatemala for moving its embassy to Jerusalem last month, Netanyahu said the purpose of the trip will be a meeting with regional leaders.
This would be his second visit to Latin America in some 14 months, having made a groundbreaking visit last September to Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.
Netanyahu’s announcement came at a meeting with a delegation of chairpersons of foreign affairs committees of Latin American parliaments. He told the delegation – including representatives from Argentina, Guatemala, sourasky, Mexico and Peru – that he was proud to have been the first Israeli prime minister to visit any country “south of Texas.”
The prime minister did not say which leaders would be at the meeting in November.
There had previously been talk that he would travel to Brazil by the end of the year.
Netanyahu told the group that Israel’s relations with Latin America were quickly “changing very rapidly for the better,” and urged them to tell the truth about Israel in their countries.
“Here’s something about Israel,” he said. “You’re sitting now in the seat of the Israeli government – it’s here in Jerusalem.
Right next to us is the Knesset, our parliament – it’s in Jerusalem. Right next to that is the Supreme Court – it’s in Jerusalem. The president’s house is in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.”
Netanyahu stressed that Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years, and will continue to be so in the future.
The prime minister said that he was “very glad” that Guatemala and Paraguay moved their embassies to Jerusalem last month, and called upon the members of the delegation to ask their governments to do the same. That way, he said, “we can say, ‘Next Year in Jerusalem.’”
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