Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Israel to Expand Efforts to Strengthen Relationship With U.S. Hispanic Population

May 2, 2013 9:01 am 4 comments

Senator Marco Rubio. Photo: Gage Skidmore.

In a sign that the Hispanic community in the United States is becoming ever more influential, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the country’s acting foreign minister, told Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday that the country’s public relations outreach would make a more concerted effort to target the minority community, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported.

The Foreign Ministry had already identified the U.S’s Hispanic community as an important new player in U.S. relations, with at least two Israeli consulates – Los Angeles and Miami – having employed local Spanish-speaking workers to strengthen the relationship with those cities’ respective Hispanic communities. But many of the various projects developed by the Foreign Ministry to work with the Hispanic community were stalled because of lack of funds.

In the past former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met several times with senior members of the Hispanic community, including members of Congress and local politicians.

“The United States is undergoing profound demographic changes, and it is important that Israel connect with the communities affecting the country’s character early in the process,”he said at the time. “Strengthening and preserving the relationship between Israel and the leaders of these communities guarantee the preservation of the strategic alliance with the U.S., which is vital to Israel’s security.”

There are approximately 52 million Hispanics living in the U.S., according to Maariv. They account for about 17 percent of the population. It is the second largest ethnic group in the country and is the fastest growing.

About 70 percent of Hispanic Americans voted for Barack Obama in the last election, though some of the most prominent Hispanic politicians sit on the other side of the aisle. These include Marco Rubio, a Florida Senator, who is considered a likely candidate for the next presidential election, and the governor  of New Mexico, Susana Martinez.

4 Comments

  • E.S.Lombard

    Inasmuch as among the very first settlers in the Western Hemisphere were large numbers of Jewish Iberians, it has been estimated that 35 millions in Central and South America are descendants from the victims of the Inquisition which, incidentally, was operative in Mexico until 1800, I believe. The first Brazilian slaves were Jews most of whom died raising crops on the equator.

  • Diane Besand

    Many Hispanics in the US are B’nai Anusim, descendents of Conversos, Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition. Those who were not tortured and killed, ran and even though pursued over centuries managed to escape to the Americas and some to Italy and then from Italy to US in subsequent generations. With the advent of the Internet and genealogy sites and other research groups, Anousim are discovering their Jewish roots. Those who have this ancestry may not be aware of it, but those who are aware find it extremely difficult when wishing to return to their Jewish roots and making aliya to Israel.

    Because our ancestors were once Jews they have retained many Jewish practices and traditions in their own families not realizing these were Jewish traditions. Unfortunately, because there is rarely any documentation that is needed for proof of Jewishness as required in Israel,the next step if serious is of course conversion. Even then it is difficult, frustrating and indeed painful because we are not welcomed and looked upon with suspicion by Israeli officials. Many give up their dream to make aliya to Israel and stay in America.

    It is indeed important that Israel strengthen it’s ties with the Hispanic community in America, but there is also a large group of B’nai(chidren of) Anousim in America, both Hispanic and Italian Americans who are descended from Anousim who want to and have come home to Judaism and want to come home to Israel as well. If we were accepted as Jews having converted within guidelines set forth by the State of Israel, these Hispanic/Italian American Jews would have dual citizenship and even further deepen and strengthen the ties with their ancestral home Israel. This would be of benefit to both countries.

  • That’s excellent, but Israel needs to also focus on the Asian population. Most of the pro-Israeli rallies I’ve gone to have had Hindu supporters in them. But the Chinese-American population is growing very fast, as is the Korean-American.

  • Israelis will be surprised to discover the huge numbers of Hispanics who are evangelical and fundamentalist bible believers who believe they are descendants of Jews. They have a great love for Israel and have become increasingly involved in the Jewish Messianic Movement.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →