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.