World Jewish News
'A new era in relations between Argentina and Israel'
13.09.2017, Israel and the World
‘’This is truly the dawn of a new era in the ties between Israel and Argentina,’’ stressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he met with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires.
Netanyahu is the first acting Prime Minister of Israel to visit Latin America.
During his meeting, he spoke of the Jewish community of Argentina, one of the largest in the world - 230,000 people-, which he described as being ‘’a human bridge between our two countries’’. ‘’A very proud community, that contributes much to Argentina, and may I say, 100,000 Jews from Argentina who came to Israel have contributed much to our own society in every field,’’ Netanyahu said.
‘’This community has undergone two traumatic experiences in the bombings that took place in Buenos Aires in the Israeli embassy and then in the AMIA center, and it emerged stronger than before,’’ he said.
On March 17, 1992, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Israeli embassy compound, killing 29 people, including Israelis.
On July 18, 1994, 85 people were killed and dozens others wounded in the bombing of Jewish organization AMIA (Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina) building in the capital.
Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah and its sponsor Iran have been found responsible for both attacks.
Netanyahu told the Argentinian president: ‘’I appreciate your commitment and the integrity of your position to discover what happened there. We know without a doubt that Iran and Hezbollah were backing up and in fact initiated these attackes, and can say that Iran's terror has not stopped since then. They have a terror machine that encompasses the entire world, with their sidekick Hezbollah. They are operating terrorist cells through many continents, including Latin America, and the need to fight terrorism, whether from Iran of from Daesh, has now become a concern for all countries.’’
He added: ‘’We understand that this terrorism attacks everyone – in Barcelona, in Berlin, in Manchester, in London, in Paris, in every country around the world terrorism strikes, and just as the attacks are indivisible, the response should be indivisible.’’
Argentina's controversial investigation into the 1994 attack, which has suspected links to the 1992 attack, has not yet concluded. Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor to the case was murdered hours before he was to present evidence exposing connections between former Argentine President Cristina Kirchner's government and the Iranians.
Relations between Argentina and Israel have been characterized by ups and downs over the years: Argentine President Juan Peron offered sanctuary to several Nazi war criminals, the most famous being Adolf Eichmann, whom the Mossad abducted and brought to trial in Israel in 1960. During his visit in Argentina, Netanyahu signed several agreements in various sectors including security, social insurance, customs and the use of archives for Holocaust remembrance. .
Following his meeting with President Macri, Netanyahu met with another South American ally, Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes, who flew to Buenos Aires for the meeting.
Netanyahu is to leave Argentina on Thursday for Columbia where he will meet with the country’s president, Juan Manuel Santos before flying to Mexico and later to New York where he will address the United Nations General Assembly and also meet with US President Donald Trump.