BUENOS AIRES (Aug. 2)
Argentine and Israeli officials gathered here last week to dedicate the foundation of a new Israeli Embassy here.
The new chancellery will replace the previous embassy, which was completely destroyed by a terrorist attack on March 17, 1992.
Some 30 people — including four Israelis and five Argentine staff members — died as a result of the attack, and more than 400 were injured.
Among those attending the ceremony were Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella, Buenos Aires Mayor Saul Bouer and Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Shefi, whose participation in the ceremony was his last official appearance here.
Shefi, who was ambassador here when the bomb destroyed the previous embassy but was not in the building at the time, has ended his mission and has already left for Israel.
In recalling the attack, Shefi said that “the construction of this new building is, in a way, the reparation of so much pain and human loss.”
Some of the survivors who worked for the embassy at the time of the bombing have complained that they have been discriminated against by Israeli officials.
They argue that Israeli employees were compensated in every way possible — receiving the best medical treatment as well as first-class vacations abroad — while the Argentine Jews were treated as second-class citizens.
The new Israeli mission is to be situated in the fashionable Belgrano neighborhood on a street that houses several other embassies.
The building permit was granted despite the protests of some 14 homeowners living nearby who had voiced fears for their security and had petitioned the government to change the embassy’s location.
Despite these trepidations, Foreign Minister Di Tella, speaking at the foundation-laying ceremony, stressed “the profound existing relations between Argentina and Israel.”
He used the occasion to announce that in September, the city of Buenos Aires will host a meeting for experts from around the world who will examine how Nazis sought refuge in South America after World War II.