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Costa Rica’s President Says His Decision to Move Embassy to Jerusalem Was Historically Important

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Costa Rican President Luis Alberto Monge has told a group of American Jewish leaders here that his decision to transfer Costa Rica’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was one of “tremendous historical importance.”

The President told the group of more than 100 — who were here January 23-30 on a “mission of appreciation” for the transfer — that the diplomatic move, taken last year, supports “the sovereign right of Israel, like all other nations, to determine its own capital.”

The week-long mission grew out of an initiative taken by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and was sponsored by five U.S. Jewish organizations.

Addressing the Jewish leaders at a dinner last week, Monge said he was gratified that Costa Rican-Israeli ties are deepening and added that the two nations share an adherence to “many human values aimed at preserving world peace and improving conditions for the human race.”

EXPRESSES ADMIRATION FOR ISRAEL, JEWS

Since 1948, the Costa Rican leader went on, Israel has become “a formidable example for the entire world of technical, cultural progress, economic development and spiritual greatness.” He added: “I love, respect and admire the people of Israel and Jewish communities throughout the world.”

Others at the dinner meeting, held at San Jose’s Cariari Hotel, included Israeli Ambassador David Tourgeman, Costa Rican government officials and members of the nation’s Jewish community.

Rabbi Morton Rosenthal, director of ADL’s Latin American Affairs department, and one of the leaders of the mission along with David Blumberg, former international president of B’nai B’rith, told Monge that the group had come to Costa Rica “primarily to express our appreciation to you, your government and the people of Costa Rica for your support of the state of Israel.”

He added that “friends of Israel are friends of the American Jewish community and world Jewry” and said ADL and other Jewish organizations would seek to promote better understanding and appreciation of Costa Rica in the U.S.

Myra Farr, national vice president of the National Council of Jewish Women, pledged to encourage American Jews to visit Costa Rica. Blumberg presented an inscribed silver tray to Monge on behalf of the mission members.

The organizations sponsoring the mission were: B’nai B’rith, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, the United Synagogue of America, the National Council of Jewish Women, and B’nai Zion.

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