Prime Minister Netanyahu made history again last week as Israel’s first sitting prime minister to visit South America, finishing his tour in Mexico.
The prime minister traveled to Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, participating in ceremonies, meeting with heads of state and holding numerous business meetings, his tour centered on increasing Israel’s stance international, as well as opening doors of cooperation, business and diplomatic relations.
He met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday before meeting with the Jewish community over the weekend. Before his meeting with President Nieto, Netanyahu held a meeting with 16 of Mexico’s heads of cooperation and business, the meeting centered on initiatives and agreements in cooperation between both countries.
Netanyahu and Nieto’s meeting was centered on Israel’s aid to Mexico, Iran and bilateral relations and business cooperation, their meeting falling on 65 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Mexico.
Both spoke to the press following their meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu stating on the “milestone” visit stating “As incredible as it sounds, what you just said always astounds me: that this is the first visit since the founding of the State of Israel of an Israeli prime minister in Latin America. It’s the first visit in Mexico. It is, I would say, an unpardonable lapse, but we want the pardon. We’re here. We think that we correct now a historic lapse, because Mexico is a great country. It’s one of the world’s great economies, it’s a great nation, a great people, a great culture. We want to be close, even closer to Mexico, and this is what this meeting signifies.”
On the earthquake and Israel’s announcement it would assist Mexico, he stated “[The State of Israel] offer our condolences, once again, to those who lost their lives in the tragic earthquake. We have… offered any help that we can give to Oaxaca and Chiapas and anything that you deem appropriate, we stand ready, because we stand with you.”
Speaking specifically on Israel-Mexico relations and cultural similarities he stated “We have established 65 years of diplomatic relations, but those relations are gathering steam now. There is an innate sympathy between our peoples. We both are very proud of our traditions. You have the great religious and cultural affinities. Mexico has the Basilica of Guadalupe, where the Virgin Mary was revealed. Well- Israel is a place where she was born, and of course, where Jesus talked and preached. And I offer all our friends in Mexico to come visit Israel, walk in the footsteps of Jesus, where you will see this ancient land that is coming back alive. And in fact this is, I think, the main theme of our meeting, of our agreements, of our partnership. We are proud of our past, but we are eager to seize the future.”
He ended his address speaking of Israel’s innovation and future of a strong partnership with Mexico stating “it’s important to understand that the future is rushing at us with great speed. Those countries that will enjoy the future are those that will innovate. The future belongs to those who innovate. Israel is known as the “Innovation Nation”. We believe that through our partnership, we can bring the fruits of this innovation to the people of Mexico.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu left Mexico for the United States where he is scheduled to meet with President Trump Monday. The prime minister’s meeting with Trump will center on Iran, Netanyahu stating before leaving Mexico “Israel will not accept Iranian entrenchment on our northern border, which endangers not only us but also our Arab neighbors, and we are committed to acting against it.”
Netanyahu will then address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, his speech to center on the threats from Iran and radical Islam.
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, September 17, 2017, and reposted with permission.