President of Honduras to light torch in Israel’s Independence Day ceremony


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The president of Honduras will light a torch in Israel’s annual Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl.

Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was reelected for a second term in November, confirmed his attendance at the event, Culture Minister Miri Regev announced on Thursday.

Hernández will light the torch at the April 18 ceremony together with a Foreign Ministry official representing its Agency for International Development Cooperation, or MASHAV program.  Hernández graduated from a MASHAV enrichment course in 1992 at the beginning of his diplomatic career.

Hernandez’s participation in the event mandates that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be present at the event. Traditionally, the highest ranking government official at the annual Yom Haatzmaut eve ceremony is the speaker of the Knesset. According to protocol, the presence of a foreign president at an official state ceremony obligates the attendance of the prime minister, Ynet reported.

Netanyahu had said last month that he planned to be present for the ceremony to mark Israel’s 70th Independence Day, leading to Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein threatening to boycott the ceremony.

Honduras was one of eight countries that voted in December against a United Nations General Assembly resolution rejecting the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier that month.

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