Netanyahu, Argentina’s president-elect agree to improve ties
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Macri visited Jerusalem last year as Buenos Aires mayor; PM invites him to return

Netanyahu, Argentina’s president-elect agree to improve ties

Mauricio Macri, known for warm relations with Jewish community, has vowed to end deal with Tehran on AMIA terror probe

Argentine President-elect Mauricio Macri speaks to the press at the Olivos presidential residence in Buenos Aires, where he arrived to meet outgoing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to define the transition, on November 24, 2015. (Juan Mabromata/AFP)
Argentine President-elect Mauricio Macri speaks to the press at the Olivos presidential residence in Buenos Aires, where he arrived to meet outgoing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to define the transition, on November 24, 2015. (Juan Mabromata/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Argentina’s president-elect Mauricio Macri and congratulated him on winning the election.

Netanyahu told Macri that he expected to see relations between Israel and Argentina grow warmer, according to a statement from the prime ministers’ office.

Macri, according to the statement, told Netanyahu that Argentina’s treatment of Israel will change for the better and that cooperation between the two countries is expected to improve.

Netanyahu invited Macri to visit Israel.

On Monday, Macri said that he would work to cancel the agreement signed with Iran to jointly investigate the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, as he had vowed during his election run. Alberto Nisman, the investigating prosecutor who was found dead earlier this year, had traced the authorization for the attack, in which 85 people were killed, to Iran, and identified the Hezbollah suicide bomber who carried out the attack.

“We will propose to Congress to cancel the pact with Iran as we promised in the campaign,” Macri said in his first news conference after being elected in a runoff vote the previous day.

Macri, the opposition candidate, will take office on December 10. He won the runoff with 51.4 percent of the vote, defeating Daniel Scioli, a close ally of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who garnered 48.6 percent, according to the final results released Monday.

The agreement had been criticized by Israel and Argentina’s Jews, among others. Iran has been accused of being behind the AMIA bombing, which killed 85 and injured hundreds.

Macri has a recent history of close relations with Argentine Jewry and Israel.

The aftermath of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires (photo credit: Newspaper La Nación (Argentina)/Wikipedia Commons)
The aftermath of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires (Newspaper La Nación (Argentina)/Wikipedia Commons)

As mayor of Buenos Aires City, the country’s capital, Macri’s government implemented a plan to support incubators and start-ups inspired by the Israeli “Start-Up Nation” model. Local entrepreneurs visited Israel to learn how to market themselves globally, and they described their experiences on the city government’s website.

In June 2014, he traveled to Israel to participate in a mayors’ conference in Jerusalem, where he offered his support to Israel against terrorism.

“Israeli suffering has to be understood. From afar, it is easy to give advice, but you have to be in Israel to really understand the situation,” he told journalists.

Macri’s new political party, PRO, leads Argentina’s Let’s Change coalition. In 2011, the center-right party picked Rabbi Sergio Bergman to head the ticket for municipal elections. In 2013, Bergman was tapped by Macri to run for the national legislature, which he won, becoming the first rabbi to serve as a national lawmaker in the country. Macri also has ties to other Jewish candidates.

On Election Day, Macri played in a soccer game with his friends against the over-45 team that will represent Argentina at the next Pan-American Maccabi Games in Chile. The president’s team defeated the Jewish squad, 4 to 1.

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