BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Jewish veterans of the 1982 Falklands War have received honorary membership to an Argentinean Jewish institution.
The Sociedad Hebraica Argentina sports club and Jewish center gave the “distinguished membership” status to 40 Jewish soldiers of the war, also known as the Malvinas War, which gives them and their families full free access to the two venues owned by Hebraica, including its sports and cultural facilities.
The war lasted from April 2, 1982 to June 14,1982 when Argentina failed in its attempt to retake the Malvinas Islands that remain a British territory called the Falkland Islands.
“One week ago we as Jews remembered the fallen soldiers of Israel in Yom Hazikaron. But as Argentinean Jews that live here, we owed this type of recognition. You honor us as Jews and Argentineans,” Hebraica President Jonathan Lemcovich told the soldiers during a ceremony on Saturday. He closed his speech in Hebrew saying: “Bruchim habaim libeiteinu,” or “Welcome to our home.”
The event was held at the open-air site of Hebraica in Pilar, in the west of the greater Buenos Aires area, with 420 acres that includes five swimming pools, 27 tennis courts, seven soccer fields, a hockey field, a rugby field and a theater.
“When Argentina called us to fight we went to defend our homeland. We are an example of what means to be an Argentinean Jew,” said veteran Jewish soldier Silvio Katz. “We were called today not just for a photo, but for the hug we need,” he added.
Attending the event were representatives of the Pilar municipality, the National Secretary of Human Rights and representatives of the National Institute against Racism and Xenophobia.