Home News Guatemala Guatemala’s Hebrew-speaking president-elect’s special connection with Israel

Guatemala’s Hebrew-speaking president-elect’s special connection with Israel

Guatemala’s Hebrew-speaking president-elect’s special connection with Israel
Bernardo Arévalo (Photo: AP)

Bernardo Arévalo spent a decade living in Israel, both as a student and as his country’s consul, and says he has a deep affection for Jewish state because it has played a significant role in his life.

Guatemala’s president-elect has a unique history with Jews and Israel. The newly elected president, Bernardo Arévalo, 64, is fluent in Hebrew, and this isn’t just because he earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and lived in the country for several years.

Arévalo, who called Israel home for over a decade, also served as Guatemala’s consul in Israel during his tenure as a Guatemalan diplomat. But that’s not all, Arévalo’s connection to the Holy Land isn’t the only Israeli point of interest in his background. His father, Juan José Arévalo, was the president of Guatemala who in 1947 strongly supported the United Nations’ decision to agree to the establishment of the State of Israel.

Bernardo Arévalo

Bernardo Arévalo
(Photo: AP)
Subsequently, Arévalo Sr. served as Guatemala’s ambassador to Israel. Interestingly, he was appointed as ambassador by a Guatemalan president who did not particularly favor him but believed that, by sending him to Israel, Guatemala would receive assistance in return.
In the late 1970s, during the country’s civil war, Israel indeed sold military aircraft and Galil rifles to Guatemala, strengthening the bond between the two nations.
Thanks to his father’s diplomatic mission, the son arrived in Israel, studied here as a student, and completed his undergraduate degree in sociology. Later, he pursued a career in diplomacy and was appointed Guatemala’s consul in Israel.
Still, five years ago, when Guatemala decided to follow the United States and relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, Arévalo strongly opposed the decision, asserting that it violated international law.
Jerusalem expects that the strong friendship between the two countries will continue, although occasional changes in policy are possible. It appears that Arévalo may take a more nuanced stance in his support for Israel rather than an automatic one. A senior Israeli official noted that Guatemala has been an extremely pro-Israel country, primarily due to its evangelical population.
Arévalo also sees himself as a friend of Israel and is particularly interested in Israeli technologies related to agriculture and water management. In an interview with local media during his campaign, he said that he lived in Israel for 10 years and holds a deep affection for the country because it played a significant role in his life.
Source: YNET News


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