Foreign Minister of Ecuador Reassures Jewish Community Following Anti-semitic Incidents

The Jewish community of Ecuador has been given assurances by Foreign Minister Luis Valencia Rodriguez that its safety and well-being will be protected in the wake of a recent number of anti-Jewish incidents described as “unprecedented” in that South American country, the World Jewish Congress reported.

Valencia met in Quito with a delegation consisting of Manuel Tenenboum, director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, Pedro Steiner, president of the Association Israeli, and Manuel Grubel, president of the B’nai B’rith in Quito According to Tenenbaum, who flew to Ecuador for the meeting, the Foreign Minister stressed the “firm determination of President Hurtado’s government to guarantee the security and tranquility of the Jewish community.”

The 1,000-member Jewish community of Ecuador, living mainly in the capital, was shaken in recent weeks by a series of anti-Semitic incidents in the country. On September 22, stones were thrown at the home of the Honorary Consul of Israel in the coastal city of Guayaquil, smashing windows. On the same day, the Israel Embassy in Quito was stoned and its windows broken. A day earlier, a bomb exploded in front of the Association Israelita’s community center.

In addition to the violence, harsh anti-Israel statements with anti-Semitic connotations have appeared in the local press and anti-Israel demonstrations have been held in the streets. The Foreign Minister linked those events to general agitation in the country which he ascribed to “leftists.” He also expressed “great friendship toward Israel,” the WJC reported.

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