JERUSALEM, Israel – In 1947, during a historic UN vote, Guatemala voted along with the United States to support the establishment of a Jewish State. Guatemala’s new President-Elect Alejandro Giammattei says his country will continue to stand with Israel.
The President-Elect delivered an address at the Friends of Zion Museum (FOZ) in Jerusalem.
“He has a compassion, he has a conviction for the Jewish people and for the nation of Israel and the promises of the Bible and he’s acting that out in a beautiful way," FOZ's Mike Evans Jr. said of President Giammattei.
Israel was Giammattei’s first international trip. For Israelis, it means a lot.
“It’s extremely important to Israel because unfortunately, as you well know, we can count our friends probably on our hands," said Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum. "And Guatemala has always been a steadfast friend of Israel from the beginning of the establishment of the state of Israel.”
Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon told CBN News he appreciates Guatemala's friendship and the country's decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem last year.
“We do have friends around the world. We speak about our enemies, but we are grateful to our friends, to President Giammattei from Guatemala who came here who said, ‘I will not only stand with you in Jerusalem, I will help you to bring more embassies here to Jerusalem.’”
As soon as he is inaugurated, Giammattei plans to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
“The president declared today that he says also that the enemies of Israel are the enemies of Guatemala and the friends of Israel are the friends of Guatemala. So he’s also working very hard to be able to in the first months of his mandate to he will be able to have a more active role so we can be able to help Israel in anything they need in this terrible time of they’re living in the world with anti-semitism," Guatemalan Ambassador to Israel Mario Bucaro said.
Israelis hope more Latin American countries will follow Guatemala's lead to move their embassies to Jerusalem. They see it as a win-win.
“It’s actually amazing what can happen from an embassy being here. I can tell you what’s happening with the American embassy that I’m familiar," said Hassan-Nahoum. "There’s so much more trade, there’s so much more conversations of how we can add value to each other; spread technology and know-how with each other. The same is happening with Guatemala. Any country that I believe who decides to become Israel's friend, move their embassy will only benefit and of course we benefit from the friendship and from trade ties and from everything else that comes with it.”
Hassan-Nahoum believes Guatemala's move is a sign more nations around the world are recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's eternal capital.