JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli President Shimon Peres has left on a state visit of Brazil and Argentina.
Peres is scheduled to present the first speech ever by an Israeli official to the Brazilian Parliament.
He is leading a delegation that includes Israel’s tourism minister, 40 Israeli business leaders and senior members of the Israeli defense industry.
The visit comes at the invitation of Brazilian President Luis Inacio da Silva and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, according to Peres’ office. The visit marks the first state visit by an Israeli president to Brazil in 40 years and to Argentina in 20 years.
While in the two countries, Peres is scheduled to meet with government officials including their presidents, foreign and defense ministers, senior economic ministers, heads of parliament and local leaders.
Peres will discuss the Iranian infiltration of the continent, opportunities to strengthen political and strategic ties between the countries, and how to increase economic cooperation, according to his office.
The Israeli president also will visit the Jewish communities of both countries, which are the largest in South America. In Argentina he will preside over a memorial service for the victims of the terrorist attack against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.
Some 30 new immigrants from Brazil and Argentina will join Peres on his return to Israel.