ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Argentina’s Milei sees echoes of Holocaust on visit to shattered kibbutz

Accompanied by Herzog, president visits Nir Oz, which dozens of Argentinean immigrants called home prior to October 7, when a quarter of residents were killed or kidnapped by Hamas

President Isaac Herzog and Argentinian President Javier Milei tour Kibbutz Nir Oz on February 8, 2024. (Maayan Toaf/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog and Argentinian President Javier Milei tour Kibbutz Nir Oz on February 8, 2024. (Maayan Toaf/GPO)

Argentinian President Javier Milei and President Isaac Herzog toured Kibbutz Nir Oz on the Gaza border on Thursday, likening what happened on October 7 to “21st century Nazism.”

Prior to the brutal Hamas terror onslaught, many immigrants from Argentina and their descendants called Kibbutz Nir Oz home, including Yair Horn, who was kidnapped from his home along with his brother Eitan, both of whom are still being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.

Among the Argentinean nationals kidnapped from the Kibbutz were Shiri and Yarden Bibas and their two boys, Ariel, 4, and Kfir, then 9 months old, all of whom remain captive.

A quarter of Nir Oz’s residents were killed or kidnapped by Hamas on October 7.

Emphasizing Argentina’s support for Israel and its right to defend itself, Milei likened the methods used by Hamas against Israeli civilians to those used against Jews during the Holocaust.

“It was the indifference of the free world that made the Nazi Holocaust possible,” says the Argentinian leader. “And as President Herzog said, the free world can’t remain indifferent in this case, as we see clear examples of terrorism and antisemitism and what I would describe as 21st century Nazism.”

Accompanied by Ofelia Roitman, an Argentinian national who was abducted from her home on the kibbutz on October 7 and was released on November 28 as part of a weeklong ceasefire deal, the two toured the charred remains of several kibbutz homes where members were killed or kidnapped, including several from Argentina.

“We shall rebuild this place,” Herzog told Milei as they toured the destroyed kibbutz. “We shall bring back the community. And we shall protect Israelis and we hopefully will create a different future for us and for our neighbors.”

They met with the parents of David Cunio an Argentinean taken captive along with his wife and their 3-year-old twin daughters. He remains hostage, though his wife and daughters were released in November.

“When we saw the pictures, we were filled with horror, but now to see things for myself, up close, it is an all the more disturbing and powerful experience,” Milei said.

Roitman told the two heads of state that this was the first time she had returned to the kibbutz since the deadly massacre. Recounting some of what she had endured, she said she had kept a diary while in captivity but it was discovered by Hamas and burned before her release.

President Isaac Herzog and Argentinian President Javier Milei visit the Bibas family home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on February 8, 2024. (Maayan Toaf/GPO)

At least nine Argentinians were killed on October 7, when thousands of Hamas-led terrorists massacred some 1,200 people across southern Israel, and of the 136 people still held hostage in Gaza, 15 have Argentinian citizenship.

President Isaac Herzog and Argentinian President Javier Milei visit the Lifshitz family home in Kibbutz Nir Oz on February 8, 2024. (Maayan Toaf/GPO)

Milei landed in Israel on Tuesday for his first bilateral visit to any country since he assumed the presidency in late November. During the visit, he announced that he would be moving Argentina’s embassy to Jerusalem and said his country is working to declare Hamas a terror organization.

He also said he has sent a bill to Argentina’s Congress demanding the release of all hostages still held in Gaza, including those who are Argentinian citizens.

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