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November 29, 2016 9:36 am

Guatemalan President Makes Historic Visit to Israel, Speaks of Bolstering Bilateral Ties

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (left) meets Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and his wife, Hilda Patricia Morales. Photo: President Reuven Rivlin via Twitter.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (left) meets Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and his wife, Hilda Patricia Morales. Photo: Twitter.

JNS.org – On a historic visit to the Jewish state this week — in what was his first trip outside of the Western Hemisphere since assuming office in January — Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was welcomed warmly by Israeli officials.

“I want to thank you, Mr. President, for your personal support and for the support of your country for Israel on the international stage,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Morales. “Israel can help greatly in development and innovation in your region and around the world, and we are committed to doing so.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Tuesday greeted Morales by saying, “The ties between Israel and Guatemala are deep and historic. Before Israel’s establishment, on the eve of the UN decision on November 29 [in 1947], we still remember and appreciate the actions of Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, Dr. Jorge Garcia Granados, who enlisted Latin American states to vote in favor of the partition plan. It could be that without Guatemala, the resolution on that fateful day would not have passed, and history would be very different.”

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Morales is a devout evangelical Christian. Shortly after taking office, he visited a synagogue in Guatemala City, where he announced his intention to visit Israel. The Central American leader, who also met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he looks forward to bolstering agriculture, science, technology and security ties with Israel.

“In this visit, we want to deepen the dialogue between the two countries and strengthen bilateral ties,” Morales said. “As allies, the excellent relations between our countries will continue.”

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