Brazilian activist named Israel’s honorary consul of the year


RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Israel’s honorary consul here was recognized by the Jewish state for his diplomatic efforts.

The Foreign Ministry named Osias Wurman the first ever “honorary consul of the year” Friday in a Miami.

“This is the top of the line, the maximum point that I, as a Brazilian, can serve the State of Israel, Zionism and Judaism,” Wurman told JTA.

“My nomination certificate is the most precious artwork in my house, which takes the most noble place of all. It is a legacy to my grandchildren, an honor that was granted to me by the late Israeli president Shimon Peres.”

Appointed in 2009, Wurman is one of Israel’s 77 honorary consuls in the world, including some 30 in Latin America. At 70, the Rio-born journalist has been a Jewish activist in Brazil for over three decades.

He is a former vice-president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation and president of the Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro. Wurman has written several pro-Israel articles in the Brazilian media and serves as editor in chief of influential Jewish newsletter Rua Judaica.

“The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognizes the commitment, support and intensive assistance to the Israeli delegation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and for the success of the visit of Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev, and the promotion of Israeli cultural activity in Rio during the Olympic Games,” said Modi Ephraim, deputy director general for Latin American and Caribbean.

Israel has an embassy in Brasilia, a consulate in Sao Paulo and honorary consulates in Rio and Belo Horizonte. Brazil is home to some 120,000 Jews.

“I would like to tell all activists who dedicate their lives to the noble blue-and-white cause that Israel needs them today more than ever. Each one of us must fight for and advocate not only for the right to exist but overall the right to the recognition of the roots of the Jewish people,” Wurman told JTA.

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