Ramat Gan names street after Mexican diplomat who challenged Jerusalem vote
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Ramat Gan names street after Mexican diplomat who challenged Jerusalem vote

Andres Roemer was fired as UNESCO envoy for refusing to vote in favor of a UN resolution that denied Jewish ties to the capital

Former Mexican ambassador to UNESCO Andres Roemer. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Former Mexican ambassador to UNESCO Andres Roemer. (Screen capture: YouTube)

The central city of Ramat Gan this week unveiled a new road named for a Mexican diplomat who was fired as UNESCO ambassador for refusing to vote in favor of a 2016 resolution that effectively denied Jewish ties to Jerusalem.

Ramat Gan’s El Al Street was officially renamed to Andres Roemer Street, to honor the diplomat’s contributions to the Jewish state, Mayor Carmel Shama-Hacohen said.

“He deserves it, I would be happy to live on a street named after someone who fought for Israel and paid a price for it,” Shama-Hacohen told the Ynet news site.

Shama-Hacohen, who was Israel’s UNESCO ambassador during Roemer’s tenure at the UN’s cultural agency, proposed the name change to the city council earlier this year.

Carmel Shama-Hacohen, mayor of Ramat Gan, attends a convention for newly elected mayors and local council heads, in Ashkelon, November 27, 2018. (Flash90)

“I’ve never been this excited before, maybe other than when my children were born,” Roemer told Ynet. “I have no words to describe this honor… I’ve been crying from all the emotion.”

After the new name was unveiled on Sunday, Roemer left a letter and gift basket for every resident on the street.

“Dear residents, it has been the greatest privilege of my life to be a part of your honorable place. This is a simple and symbolic present to always remind you of my eternal gratitude and love.”

Roemer’s gift basket included a small Mexican doll, a small bottle of tequila and a shot glass.

Roemer, who is also a lawyer, economist and playwright, is the grandson of Viennese orchestra conductor Ernesto Roemer, who fled Europe before World War II. A self-described “atheist Jew,” he grew up in Mexico City, and had previously served as Mexico’s consul-general in San Francisco.

In October 2016 — two months after Roemer arrived at UNESCO — he walked out during a vote on a resolution about the Old City of Jerusalem because he did not want to follow the instructions from his capital to vote in favor. He was later dismissed from his position.

Since then, the Mexican-Jewish diplomat met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has been recognized by the the American Sephardic Federation, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and other Jewish groups for challenging the UN resolution.

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