BUENOS AIRES (JTA) — Javier Milei, a colorful right-wing populist who has said he would like to convert to Judaism, was elected president of Argentina on Sunday.
Early results showed he garnered over 55% of the national vote, defeating Sergio Massa, the current left-wing government’s economy minister.
Milei’s passionate love of Judaism and Israel has been one of the several unexpected qualities that Argentines and political analysts have become accustomed to during his rapid rise over the past year. Milei, 53, throughout his campaign blamed the outgoing government for soaring inflation and poverty rates. That government included Cristina Fernández de Kirchner — who has been accused of obstructing the investigation into the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing — as vice president.
“Today we will start the rebuilding of Argentina,” Milei said in his acceptance speech Sunday night.
Milei, an economist and former TV and radio pundit, calls himself an anarcho-capitalist. He has promised to close several government ministries, including Argentina’s national bank, a move that would make the country’s currency the American dollar. He calls climate change a hoax and has earned comparisons to Donald Trump.
He also studies Torah regularly.
In an interview with Spain’s El Pais newspaper over the summer, Milei talked about his study with Rabbi Shimon Axel Wahnish, who heads ACILBA, an Argentine-Moroccan Jewish community based in Buenos Aires. Milei said he has considered converting to Judaism but worries about how Shabbat observance would clash with the duties of the presidency.
He demonstrates his passion for Judaism at rallies and public events, often walking out on stage to the sound of a shofar, the ram’s horn blown on Rosh Hashanah. At one rally in August, the shofar sound was accompanied on a screen by a photo of a man wearing a Jewish prayer shawl.
SUENA EL SHOFAR pic.twitter.com/cggV3tjgbS
— Santiago Oría (@Santiago_Oria) August 8, 2023
He is also an outspoken supporter of Israel, having stated before the start of Israel’s war on Oct. 7 that he would like to make an early diplomatic trip to Jerusalem and to move Argentina’s embassy to that city. In one of his final public appearances before the election, Milei was seen waving an Israeli flag among a large crowd in Rosario.
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Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.
A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.
JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.
The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.
The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023
“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”
“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed
Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.
Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.
“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”
Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.
Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.
More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.
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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist
i24 News – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.
According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.
During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.
ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.
הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו. pic.twitter.com/mEaJs58hpE
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023
The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.
It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.
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