Javier Milei’s incoming administration is shaping up to be one of the most pro-Israel governments in Argentina’s history, at a time other Latin American nations have spoken out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy to eradicate Hamas.
A week after winning the Nov. 19 runoff election, Milei arrived in New York on Monday morning for his first trip abroad as president-elect and headed straight to the tomb of a famous orthodox Jewish rabbi in Queens. Dawning a kippah and all black outfit, he visited Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s grave to pay respects.
The symbolic gesture illustrates how committed the incoming leader is to deepening Argentina’s cultural and political ties with Israel while much of Latin America, a Catholic stronghold, remains neutral or even critical.
Milei went to the Ohel Chabad Lubavitch before any other meetings with US officials or the International Monetary Fund in Washington. The president-elect is converting to Judaism, as per one of his spokespersons, and on Saturday participated in a Jewish ceremony in Buenos Aires where he received a blessing from another rabbi.
Less than two weeks before he takes office and without a full cabinet in place, he called the US visit a “spiritual” trip — the second of its kind since early September. It remains unclear when Milei, who grew up Catholic, chose to convert.
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