American Jewish and Christian leaders meeting with Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales. (Credit: World Jewish Congress.)
In the wake of Guatemala’s decision to relocate its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem following President Donald Trump’s historic announcement of the same policy decision in early December, a large delegation of Jewish and Christian leaders traveled to Guatemala last week to thank President Jimmy Morales for the move and offer support for the Central American nation.
During their visit to Guatemala, the delegates convened for a dinner and private meeting with Morales. Also attending the dinner were other Guatemalan officials such as Vice President Jafeth Cabrera, Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel and Ambassador to the U.S. Manuel Espina, as well as Israeli Ambassador to Guatemala Matanya Cohen, members of the local Jewish community and Christian leaders.
According to the Latino Coalition for Israel (LCI), which organized a visiting group of more than 20 Christian leaders—including former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Center—that joined a broader delegation of 70 Christian and Jewish leaders in Guatemala, the purpose of the mission was to “personally express their gratitude and support for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and for his decision to move Guatemala’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.”
“Christian and Jewish leaders gathered in Guatemala, united as one, to proudly applaud President Morales’s decision to move Guatemala’s Embassy from Tel Aviv to its rightful place in Jerusalem, a city that has represented the importance of the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people for thousands of years,” said Pastor Mario Bramnick, president of LCI.
Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, who joined the delegation to Guatemala, told JNS that the visit was an important way to “show [the Guatemalans] that we are there for them and that we support them.”
“It is a courageous act on their part and we don’t take them or it for granted,” he said.
Hoenlein said Morales gave a “stirring and appreciative speech” about their visit, in which the Guatemalan leader conveyed that moving the embassy was “deeply personal” for him.
“We felt this was an important way to show the appreciation of the American Jewish community and we hope this will set a pattern for additional countries,” stated Hoenlein.
Betty Ehrenberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress in North America, told JNS that Morales “took a very courageous step” in his decisions to recognize Jerusalem as the capital, move the embassy there and vote against a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Trump’s decision.
“Simply put, President Morales stood up for what is right, despite criticism from many corners,” Ehrenberg said, adding that Morales’s decision is “another milestone” in Guatemala’s friendship with Israel and the U.S.
A devout evangelical Christian, Morales has prioritized reaching out to the country’s small Jewish community—about 900 Jews as of 2012, according to Jewish Virtual Library—as well as strengthening ties to Israel. Shortly after taking office in January 2016, Morales traveled to the country’s main synagogue in Guatemala City, where he announced his intention to visit Israel, which he did later in 2016.
“I believe he [made the decision to move the embassy] because he is a believing Christian and it is very much in his belief structure. Guatemala was the second country to recognize Israel in 1947, and the current leadership really believes that this is the way to protect Jerusalem,” Hoenlein said.
Despite being a small and largely impoverished Central American country, Guatemala has long represented an important partner for Israel. In 1947, as Israel struggled to gain international support for the U.N. Partition Plan for British Palestine, Guatemala became one of the first countries to voice support for the Jewish state’s creation.
Ehrenberg said that Guatemala “has been a true friend of Israel from the outset—it supported Israel in 1946 as a member of UNSCOP (U.N. Special Committee on Palestine), when the Guatemalan ambassador to the U.N., Jorge Garcia Granados, recommended the formation of the state of Israel, even before the declaration in 1948.”
In 1956, Guatemala became one of the first Latin American countries to open an embassy in Jerusalem, but later relocated the mission in 1978 to the Tel Aviv suburb of Herzliya.
Today, as Israel is attempting to build non-traditional allies around the world, Guatemala has expressed an interest in bolstering agriculture, science, technology and security ties with the Israelis.
Hoenlein said that the visiting Jewish and Christian leaders “are committed to helping with the followup and getting the message to Washington and encouraging businesspeople to look at Guatemala.”
Recruiting more Latino support for Jerusalem
In addition to showing support for Guatemala, a delegation of Christian leaders from LCI also visited Honduras, where they thanked President Juan Orlando Hernandez for his country’s vote against the recent U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Trump’s Jerusalem moves, according to LCI’s Bramnick.
“We thanked President Hernandez of Honduras and his vote in the U.N. and encouraged him to move the embassy. He invited us to bring a Jewish-Christian delegation to Honduras to further discuss the issue,” said Bramnick.
Reports have suggested that Honduras, which also has close ties with Israel and borders Guatemala, is also considering moving its embassy to Jerusalem.
“Both Guatemala and Honduras are very strong Christian nations,” Bramnick told JNS, noting that he is launching an initiative called the Latin American Jerusalem Task Force to encourage Honduras as well as other countries in the region such as Costa Rica and Chile to also consider embassy moves.
“The church is very much supportive of this move and very active and is a positive influence on the leadership,” he said. “Both presidents are Christians and understand personally the religious significance as well as the geopolitical considerations of a move. Thirdly, these two countries are very pro-conservative values, pro-President Trump and pro-Israel in nature.”
“These two nations in particular,” Bramnick added, “understand the importance of such a move and have close ties with Israel and the U.S.”
Feb 10, 2019 0
At the same time, the Trump administration is readying further possible sanctions on Venezuela, the official said.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in Maracaibo. (photo credit: MIRAFLORES PALACE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 – The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military urging them to abandon leader Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said.
The Shalva Band following their final performance on “Rising Star.” Photo: Screenshot.
The Shalva Band has removed itself from the race to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision competition because some of its members observed Shabbat and would not be able to partake in mandatory rehearsals, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
The group, made up of eight musicians who have special needs, was one of four finalists in the “Rising Star” singing contest — the winner of which will represent Israel in Eurovision, set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.
Please note that the posts on The Blogs are contributed by third parties. The opinions, facts and any media content in them are presented solely by the authors, and neither The Times of Israel nor its partners assume any responsibility for them. Please contact us in case of abuse. In case of abuse,
As Birthright Israel reaches its 700,000th participant, certain voices in America have done their best to slander the organization and force it to make drastic changes. Having staffed multiple Birthright trips as a madrich (youth leader), I have had the amazing opportunity to pass on some of the love for Israel that helped change my life.
Local police in Manchester’s Whitefield neighborhood declared the vandalism a criminal act rather than antisemitic.
Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose anti-Semitism, in Parliament Square in London, Britain, March 26, 2018.. (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
The Philips Park Jewish cemetery in Manchester, England, was vandalized on Saturday, during which the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, who died last year, was desecrated.
Protestors call for the severing of diplomatic ties with Israel during a march in Cape Town. (photo credit: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS)
A proposed multi-million dollar deal between Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) and South Africa’s biggest dairy producer Clover could be in serious trouble due to heavy pressure from the anti-Israel lobby.
Newly-formed consortium Milco, in which Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) holds a majority, is offering to buy 59.5% of the South African dairy producer.
We need to give the Likud Party some credit for not destroying itself in Tuesday’s internal elections. Given that primaries are the very embodiment of deal-making, political machines and big worker unions voting in lockstep, the results could have been far worse.
When it came to casting a secret ballot, the Likud Party’s registered voters did display some maturity. They weren’t the obedient foot soldiers of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has failed again and again in his machinations.
With elections barely two months away, the greatest challenge facing Israel’s Right emanates neither from the Center nor the Left, but, rather, from within.
Indeed, if recent polls are accurate, several small parties on the Right, most of which may not individually pass the minimum threshold to make it into the next Knesset, could nonetheless win a combined total of 10 to 12 seats, all of which would end up in the dustbin if they fail to run together.
August 2017, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville shouting, “Jews will not replace us”. October 2018, one white supremacist posted on social media that “Jews are taking over the white house”, and that Trump is a puppet of the Jews. Shabbat, the same month, a man enters a synagogue during a Bris celebration and butchers Jewish people who are praying. December 2018, Women’s March leader and Louis Farrakhan (“I’m not an antisemite, I’m an anti-termite”) fan, Tamika Mallory says: “White Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy…”
Henry Ford devoted his life to two passions: making cars and demonizing Jews. When Hitler said, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” he wasn’t referring to his car manufacturing. He was referring to Ford’s anti-Semitic ideology that eventuated in the genocide of six million Jews.
Henry Ford does not deserve to be honored. The question the good people of Dearborn should ask themselves is: What would you do if the performing arts center were named after Jefferson Davis? If the answer is that you would remove Davis’s name, then you should remove Ford’s.
It was reported recently that the USA and the Taliban have reached a peace agreement on Afghanistan that will allow US forces to leave that country 17 years after they invaded it on October, 2001, less than a month after 9/11.
Al Qaeda had used that dysfunctional state as a safe haven and, while there, was able to plan and execute the attacks that took the lives of over 3000 people in. After the West invaded, the Taliban