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ARGENTINA | 13-12-2023 11:12

Milei predicts 'moral revolution' at Hanukkah ceremony in Buenos Aires

New president takes part in Jewish Hanukkah festival in Buenos Aires, declaring that "light prevails over darkness" and vowing "a moral revolution" will take place in Argentina.

President Javier Milei on Tuesday took part in the Jewish Hanukkah festival in Buenos Aires, vowing the forces of heaven would support Israel "at this moment."

Milei, from a Catholic family, is fascinated with Judaism and has been studying the Torah for a few years with Axel Wahnish, a leading Sephardic Orthodox rabbi in Buenos Aires. Right after his November election, he visited the tomb of a revered Rabbi in New York.

Wearing a black kippah, he lit the sixth candle of the eight-day festival which sees a nightly lighting of a candelabrum. The event was staged two days after his inauguration as president.

"The main lesson is that light prevails over darkness," said Milei, who lit the candle along with with Tzvi Grublatt, chief rabbi of Chabad Lubavitch Argentina, which organised the event and is close to the president.

"After so many years of darkness and occultism, the light will come out and that will be a moral revolution," said the libertarian leader.

"Victory in battle does not depend on the number of soldiers, but on the strength that comes from heaven," Milei added, citing the book of Maccabees. 

"We know that the forces of heaven will support Argentina and, above all, will support Israel at this time. Thank you very much and long live freedom, damn it," he said, finishing with his rallying cry.

Argentina has the largest Jewish community in Latin America, numbering about 250,000 people.

The Hanukkah ceremony was attended by several hostages released by Hamas during a recent ceasefire with Israel, which has unleashed a fierce attack on Palestinians after a brutal Hamas attack that left some 1,200 people dead.

A prayer was offered for "the kidnapped, the Israeli soldiers and the speedy recover of the wounded."

Milei has said he believes in God – whom he insists is a "libertarian" just like him – and claims his preferred brand of "anarcho-capitalism" is in fact the natural order of the world.

He has also said he regularly consults a rabbi and has said he sees Israel as a "natural" ally, along with the United States.

"I am enthusiastic about the relationship he has with the Jewish community," Federico Sasson, a 32-year-old businessman, who attended the ceremony.

On Sunday during his inauguration, Milei gifted a menorah – the candelabrum with eight branches – to Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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