The presidential election race in Argentina has an unpredictable contender: Javier Milei. With his wild hair, leather jackets, and penchant for belting out rock songs to his supporters, he doesn’t shy away from branding his political opponents as “thieves.”
At 52, this charismatic economist, whose audacious style is reminiscent of former US president Donald Trump, clinched the largest share of votes in the open primary elections on Sunday. This surprising outcome has jolted the race for the nation’s top office.
What many people might not know, however, is Milei’s deep connection to Judaism. Though not Jewish himself, he often relates his leadership style to that of Moses and references biblical narratives, including the weekly Torah portion read on Shabbat.
Argentinian presidential candidate shares 'fascination' with Judaism
During an interview with Radio Jai, a prominent Jewish Argentinian news outlet, Milei said his fascination with Judaism began when he was teaching economics to an observant Jewish student. He was intrigued by the profound questions this student posed, and upon investigation, he realized they stemmed from the classic Talmudic method of eliciting fresh inquiries.
Milei regularly studies Torah texts with Rabbi Shimón Axel Wahnish from ACILBA, the Moroccan Jewish community in Argentina, Radio Jai reported. The sessions were described as extensive dialogues that offer Milei both inspiration and spiritual sustenance.
Milei was recently spotted visiting the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in New York, accompanied by members of the Argentinian Jewish community.
Javier Milei wants to move the Argentinian embassy to Israel
Furthermore, Milei has indicated that should he win the presidency, he intends to relocate the Argentinian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His first international trip? Israel.
When posed with the question of his aspirations post-presidency, he swiftly responded with a desire to “travel to Jerusalem to delve deeper into his studies of the Torah, Talmud, and other Jewish scriptures.”
Not everyone is a fan, however. Some critics are wary of his far-right associates, occasionally branding them as neo-Nazis, the report said.
The former small-time rock musician and athlete opposes abortion and supports gun rights. He has criticized worker-friendly labor laws as a “cancer,” said the state is the “basis of all problems,” and praised US gangster Al Capone as a hero.
Milei once proclaimed, “My law is the Torah.” But the question remains: Will that conviction carry him to the presidency of Argentina?