After his own ‘trek,’ PM urges Israeli hikers to visit South America
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Prime 'Mochilero'

After his own ‘trek,’ PM urges Israeli hikers to visit South America

At end of tour of Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, Netanyahu posts clip referring to typical Israeli post-army backpack tradition

Benjamin Netanyahu, right, training in 1971 (Photo credit: Wikicommons/ GPO)
Benjamin Netanyahu, right, training in 1971 (Photo credit: Wikicommons/ GPO)

It took him 45 years, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally got to go on his traditional post-army tour.

“Many young people do the ‘South American trek’ after their army service,” Netanyahu said in a video posted to Twitter on Friday after completing the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Latin America.

“So I, too, after finishing the army, with slight delay, am doing the South American trek,” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu, who was a commando in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit, completed his army service in 1972.

Many young Israelis take a year off to travel after finishing their mandatory IDF service, with South America, India and the Far East among the most popular options.

Israelis traveling in South America are often called ‘mochileros,’ or backpackers in Spanish.

“I am doing the ‘rising wave’: I started in Argentina, I reached Colombia and I went to Mexico. I want you to know that there is great admiration here for the State of Israel. So it’s a diplomatic, economic and security [trek],” he said.

“Israel is on the map here, in the valley, atop the hills and in the rivers. I flew over the Amazon, I think I missed a very serious night navigation,” a smiling Netanyahu said.

“And now seriously, to all hikers: come here, enjoy it, but most importantly, return home safe,” Netanyahu concluded the 45-second video.

Netanyahu has been on a week-long tour of South American countries and is headed to New York for the UN General Assembly.

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