18 Latin American ambassadors and diplomats tour ancient Jerusalem | City Of David


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18 Latin American ambassadors and diplomats tour ancient Jerusalem

8 ambassadors and 10 consuls and attachés, all from various Latin American states, took part in a tour of the City of David.  The inititative for the tour came from MK Nava Boker (Likud), Deputy Chairperson of the Knesset and leader of the “Israel-Paraguay-Uruguay Friendship Group”, and from the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, headed by Adv. Uriel Lynn.
The diplomats visited the Herodian drainage channel, which was built during the Second Temple period, and which served as a hiding-place for the last of the Jewish fighters of the First Revolt against Rome, after their defeat at the hands of the Roman legions. 
The object of the visit was to strengthen the diplomatic ties between Israel and Latin America, and to explain the crucial importance of Jerusalem in the history of the Jewish people.
“This morning’s visit to the City of David illustrates and emphasizes the powerful bond that exists between Jerusalem and the Jews.  The roots of the Jewish nation are deeply embedded in this soil”, said MK Boker. “Despite all the loose talk about boycotts, today’s tour is proof that Israel is not isolated among the nations. Quite the contrary. Israel has become a world center, and a role model, in a wide variety of fields. Nations which understand this, can only benefit from the strengthening of their economic ties with Israel.  Today’s visit is like a first swallow of many, as part of strengthening bilateral relations.  In a month’s time, I shall lead an official delegation from the Israeli Knesset to Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, together with six other members of the Knesset. Our purpose will be to extend, and to reinforce the bonds of friendship and economic ties between  our country and these nations”.
Adv. Uriel Lynn, President of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, said in the course of the visit: “Our trade relations with the countries of Latin America are still far too limited. We want to open a new era in these relations, with the cooperation of the Knesset lobby headed by MK Nava Boker. MK Boker’s initiative is of immense importance for the future of Israel’s foreign trade,  and for the strengthening of our relations with Latin America. The Latin American market is one of the most promising markets in the world today. Despite the slow-down of recent years, the economies of the nations of this region are expected to expand at high rates of growth in the coming decades, and to become one of the world’s most powerful economic centers.  Latin America is capable of becoming an important factor in our trade relations, and a genuine alternative to some of Israel’s traditional import/export trading partners.  I hope and believe that the present event, and the coming parliamentary mission, will do much to strengthen our economic ties, and lead to new opportunities  for greater economic cooperation between the nations concerned”.
Among the 18 Latin American diplomats participating in the visit to the City of David were: the Hon. Ambassadors of Uruguay, Paraguay, Costa Rica, and El Salvador; the Hon. Consuls of the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Honduras, Panama, Mexico and Costa Rica; and the Commercial Attachés of Brazil, Guatemala, Paraguay, and El Salvador.
Jerusalem’s Mayor, Nir Barkat, who was invited by Ms. Boker and Mr. Lynn to join the diplomats’ tour, said among other things:  “Jerusalem is a united and a uniting city, and will continue to be so. As a united city, Jerusalem has in recent years become a bustling, attractive  center for all kinds of activity: cultural, high-tech, tourism, and commerce. We shall continue to develop all parts of the city, for the benefit of all of its inhabitants, of whatever faith or religion”.
A survey carried out by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce shows that exports from Israel to Latin America during 2014 totaled more than US$ 2.5 billion (not including diamonds), an increase of more than US$ 168 million (6.28%) over 2013.  Total imports from Latin America during the same year (not including diamonds) were more than US$ 1.9 billion, a reduction of 5.42% from the previous year. The total positive balance of trade was more than US$ 582 million, a reduction of 9% compared with 2013.

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