Nicaraguan vice president welcomes Israeli diplomat as ‘hermano’


RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Nicaragua’s vice president called a visiting Israeli diplomat “hermano,” or brother, seven months after the countries renewed diplomatic ties.

Rosario Murillo used the Spanish word for “brother” to speak of Modi Ephraim, head of Israel’s foreign ministry division to Latin America and the Caribbean, who is expected Sunday in Managua for a two-day mission including high-level meetings with local officials, reported El Nuevo Diario newspaper.

“Brother Modi Ephraim will be coming to our country in the upcoming days. He will work in a program developed by a bilateral commission, where we are emphasizing and prioritizing all the advanced technologies in that brother country, technological irrigation for agriculture, training, everything that has to do with post-harvest production,” Murillo told reporters.

The meetings will also address “the exchange between the two governments and peoples for the re-establishment of relations, which was announced and celebrated especially by many brothers of the Christian churches of our country,” she added.

Although there is some Israeli investment in Nicaragua, trade between the Central American country and Israel is low.

In August, over the course of just a few days, the tiny Jewish community in Nicaragua more than doubled when a religious court of three Orthodox-trained rabbis from Israel and the United States converted 114 people converted to Judaism.

Nicaragua and Israel re-established diplomatic relations on March 28. In 2010, the Nicaraguan government decided to cut off ties with the Jewish state in protest of the Israeli army’s raid to the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara as it attempted to break the blockade of Gaza. Nine people were killed in the incident.

“Both governments view very favorably the re-establishment of ties with the aim of advancing joint cooperation for the advancement of both nations and to contribute to the struggle to achieve peace in the world,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in March in a statement that also was released by Nicaragua.

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