Argentina's New President: A Libertarian Firebrand With Surprising Ties To Israel And The Jewish Community

Written By BlabberBuzz | Sunday, 26 November 2023 16:30
Views 1.6K

In a surprising turn of events, Argentina's newly elected president, Javier Milei, is a well-known admirer of Israel and the Jewish community.

Notably, he has established close connections with New York's Hasidic community.

Milei, a libertarian, emerged victorious in the recent presidential election, promising to eradicate socialism from the South American nation. His vibrant past, which includes a period as a tantric sex teacher, has been a source of intrigue.

In the months leading up to his election, Milei, a Catholic, visited New York City, where he engaged with prominent Hasidic Jewish leaders in Brooklyn and Queens. Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, an official with Chabad, a Hasidic Jewish organization in New York, shared his impressions of Milei. "In my conversation with Mr. Milei, it was clear that he was genuinely inspired by Judaism’s teachings," he said. "I found him to be very sincere, and it’s that sincerity and deep spiritual conviction that brought him to New York for a soulful day of prayer."

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During his visit, Milei also journeyed to Queens to pay his respects at the Ohel, the final resting place of the influential Chabad Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The Rebbe's gravesite attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually from various faiths.

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Milei spoke about his experience at the Ohel during his presidential campaign, "There’s a book that contains the teachings of the rebbe. Usually they give you that book as a gift," he said. "I had the chance, the honor, to meet one of those rabbis who wrote those teachings and I had the privilege that he gave me that book and signed it for me."

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He was referring to his meeting with Chabad Rabbi Simon Jacobson, a close associate of Schneerson. Jacobson was among the high-ranking officials who would reproduce the Rebbe's Shabbat speeches from memory, as no writing or audio equipment was allowed during the weekly observance.

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Jacobson shared his encounter with Milei in a YouTube video, "You should have seen how his eyes lit up, he was absolutely fascinated by the process of the remembering and that this was all documented in a book," he said. "His excitement made me excited."

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Milei has openly expressed his preference for synagogues over churches and guidance from rabbis over priests. Despite his Catholic upbringing, he has frequently criticized Pope Francis, even contemplating conversion to Judaism.

Milei has pledged to make Israel his first overseas visit as president and, following the United States, relocate Argentina's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He often references Torah verses when discussing economic theory and has blown a traditional Jewish shofar at political events. He has studied Jewish texts closely with his friend, Argentine Rabbi Shimon Axel Wahnish, as reported by Haaetz.

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