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Canada begins representing Israel in Venezuela

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CARACAS (JTA) — The Canadian Embassy has begun representing Israel’s diplomatic and consular interests in Venezuela.

Venezuela expelled the Israeli ambassador and embassy staff and severed relations with the Jewish state last January in protest of the war in Gaza.

In addition to relaying diplomatic communications between Israel and Venezuela, the Canadian Embassy will also provide consular services for Israeli citizens or those looking to travel to Israel, the Canadian embassy’s press office said Tuesday.

Consular services include issuing visas for Venezuelan citizens seeking to travel to Israel and accepting passport and residency applications.

Since January, Venezuelans Jews lacking Israeli passports had to travel to either Bogota, Colombia or Miami to request a visa.

Anecdotally, Venezuelan Jews said recently that it seems Venezuela has stopped issuing visas for Israelis seeking to visit the South American nation. Venezuelan Foreign Ministry representatives were unavailable for comment.

President Hugo Chavez has adopted an unequivocally strident tone against Israel, often equating it with his other foe, the United States, while forging warm ties with countries such as Iran and Libya. Earlier this year, Chavez told Al-Jazeera there were no plans to resume direct ties with Israel until it reconsidered its "genocidal attitude."

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