Israeli throws hat into ring for presidency of Guatemala
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'If I'm not elected, I'll return to Israel'

Israeli throws hat into ring for presidency of Guatemala

Yitzhak Farhi, who moved to Jewish state 12 years ago, will return to Central American country to run in June vote, though he is not among the front-runners

A woman walks across Israel square in Guatemala City, Dec. 27, 2017. (Orlando Estrada/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman walks across Israel square in Guatemala City, Dec. 27, 2017. (Orlando Estrada/AFP/Getty Images)

An Israeli from the central town of Ra’anana announced his candidacy for the presidency of Guatemala on Thursday.

Yitzhak Farhi grew up in the Central American country and was politically involved from a young age. He is among the founders of the National Advancement Party (PAN), one of the largest political movements during the 1990s, fielding two presidents during that time.

Farhi was also deeply involved in the local Jewish community, including serving as head of the chevra kedisha, or Jewish burial society.

The 58-year-old immigrated to Israel 12 years ago, but is returning to Guatemala to run in the June elections to replace President Jimmy Morales, who is constitutionally barred from serving a second four-year term.

Farhi will be running as a member of the Viva party, a small center-right faction that holds three of the 158 seats in parliament.

The Ra’anana resident told the Ynet news site that he will move back to Israel if he does not win in June. However, Farhi said he is optimistic about his chances despite not being among the four leading candidates, pointing out that each of them have run failed campaigns in the past.

The dual citizen is not expected to face pushback regarding his Israeli identity given Guatemala’s budding relationship with the Jewish state. The Central American country moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last year.

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