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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.