Buenos Aires wants to relocate its embassy to West Jerusalem, President Javier Milei said on Tuesday while on a visit to Israel. The Gaza-based group Hamas has denounced the move.
Milei was greeted at the Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv by Foreign Minister Israel Katz. He proceeded to Jerusalem to pray at the Western Wall, a sacred site to Jews believed to be the last surviving portion of the Second Temple.
Images circulating on legacy and social media showed Milei bursting into tears and hugging Rabbi Axel Wahnish, rumored to be his pick for Argentina’s ambassador to Israel.
“I warmly welcome the arrival in Israel of the president of Argentina, our dear friend Javier Milei, who announced the transfer of the Argentine embassy to Jerusalem. Welcome dear friend!” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza, has issued a statement describing Milei’s move as “an infringement of the rights of our Palestinian people to their land, and a violation of the rules of international law, considering Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian land.”
Jerusalem was partitioned by the 1949 armistice line but Israeli troops took control of the city in 1967. Both Israel and the Palestinians claim it as their respective capital.
Milei, 53, was elected last November on a libertarian platform of dispensing with old corrupt politics. His “shock therapy” moves have led to widespread protests by labor unions and the old establishment.
His visit to Israel is his first bilateral trip. Last month, he showed up at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and delivered a scathing critique of the globalist gathering.
Milei has been an outspoken supporter of Israel in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas raids around Gaza and the subsequent Israeli offensive against the Palestinian enclave.
So far, only a handful of the 97 governments to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel have relocated their missions to Jerusalem: the US, Guatemala, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, and the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo.
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