On US visit, Guatemala’s president feted for recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital


(JTA) — Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, on a visit to the United States, received thanks from several quarters for his support of the U.S. decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

President Donald Trump thanked Morales on Thursday during a meeting at a hotel in Washington before the annual National Prayer Breakfast, the Associated Press reported. Guatemala was one of nine countries that voted with the United States against a United Nations General Assembly resolution in December rejecting any recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Morales announced in December in a post on Facebook that he would move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.  The post said that he has instructed his country’s chancellor “to initiate the respective coordination so that it may be,” and said that he made the decision following a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Friday night, Morales attended a Shabbat meal in Manhattan hosted by Chabad’s Jewish Latin Center. The invitation was initiated after Morales said he was interested in experiencing a traditional Shabbat dinner, according to Chabad.org. Morales was honored during the meal, attended by about 200 people, for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Prior to the dinner, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dani Dayan, tweeted: “As the son of a former Ambassador of Israel to Guatemala and as Israel’s Consul General in New York I will be honored to participate and thank President Jimmy Morales.” 

Since Morales’ election in October 2015, there has been a significant improvement in the country’s relations with Israel, including Guatemala’s positions at international meetings.

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