The Paraguayan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus will relaunch on Monday to help strengthen ties between Paraguay and Israel, the Israel Allies Foundation (IAF) told The Jerusalem Post.
This caucus is one of 52 pro-Israel caucuses worldwide under the IAF umbrella. The primary focus of the Israel Allies Foundation is to foster effective communication and collaboration among parliamentarians and legislators who share a common belief in acknowledging the right of the State of Israel to exist peacefully within secure borders.
"We are thrilled to have the support of Paraguayan senators and congressman in this bicameral caucus," said IAF President Josh Reinstein. "We are seeing tremendous political support for Israel as the IAF continues to expand its network through faith-based diplomacy around the world."
The caucus's relaunch comes strategically timed ahead of the inauguration of incoming President Santiago Peña, who openly expressed support for relocating the Paraguayan embassy back to Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conversed with Peña in May to congratulate him on his recent election victory. According to a statement by the Prime Minister's Office, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral ties. Netanyahu also commended Peña for his stance on the embassy.
International embassies in Israel
"The State of Israel recognizes Jerusalem as its capital," Peña told AFP in April before the election. "The seat of the Congress is in Jerusalem; the president is in Jerusalem. So who are we to question where they establish their own capital?"
Moving the embassy back to Jerusalem was one of Peña's election promises.
Paraguay became the third country to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018 under President Horacio Cartes. However, the decision was reversed within a few months when incumbent President Mario Abdo Benítez took over, which led to the closure of Jerusalem's mission in Asuncion in retaliation.
Since then, Kosovo and Honduras have also opened embassies in Jerusalem. The United States recently sanctioned Cartes over corruption.
Peña, a member of the conservative Colorado Party, is a former International Monetary Fund economist.
The newly formed Paraguayan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus will be chaired by Senator Gustavo Leite, who entered politics under Cartes and served as minister of industry and commerce in his cabinet.
"As we are headed into a period of excellent relations between Israel and Paraguay under the leadership of the new president of Paraguay, Santiago Peña, I am honored to be serving as chairman of the Israel Allies Caucus in Paraguay, together with the senators and congressmen who believe in the right of Israel to exist within safe and secure borders," Leite said in a statement.
IAF Latin America Director Leopoldo Martinez highlighted their nearly two-decade-long collaboration with Leite and praised his unwavering support for Israel based on shared Judeo-Christian values.
"The relationship between Paraguay and Israel is embarking on a new era of unprecedented collaboration and achievements," Martinez added.