Argentina's President-elect, Javier Milei, gave his first foreign press interview to the Hasidic newspaper, "Kfar Chabad". He expressed admiration for the Jewish people, saying, "From what I've learned about the history of the Jewish people, their survival against all odds, and the divine protection they've received, I'm certain they will continue to prevail. My message is to keep faith in God, stay strong and united. Eventually, the world will realize the enduring truth - the nation of Israel lives on!"
Milei didn't hold back in criticizing leaders who target Israel. "We need to quit the hypocrisy," he said in his interview with Kfar Chabad. "I plan to urge other South American and global leaders to intensify efforts to bring hostages home, and to recognize Israel's right to protect its citizens by any means necessary. And I'll do it without hesitation or reservation."
When questioned about his pledge to relocate the Argentine embassy to Jerusalem if he becomes president, Milei said, "I intend to keep my word. Jerusalem is Israel's capital and moving our embassy there will symbolize this recognition. I am hopeful that many other countries will follow suit."
Milei has previously hinted at the possibility of converting to Judaism. He shares a close relationship with Zvi Greenblatt, a Chabad emissary in Buenos Aires. "I don't go to church, I go to a synagogue. My guide isn't a priest, it's a rabbi. I study Torah. I am recognized as a friend of Israel," he said last month. "I plan to align with the U.S. and Israel, and intend to move our embassy to Jerusalem. If I win, my first trip will be to Israel." Recently, he was spotted waving the Israeli flag in Rosario.
"I'm an economist. Years back, when I was tutoring economics, I had a hard-working student. He was from a well-known Jewish family in the Sephardic community in Buenos Aires, who owned some of the major hotels and shopping malls in Argentina," he told Yoseph Levin in the interview.
"That student, who seemed more like a rabbi than an economist, would ask the most thought-provoking questions during my lessons. His insightful queries impressed me, and I asked him where he got such wisdom. He shared that he had studied the Torah and Babylonian Talmud throughout his childhood and teenage years, both in elementary school and high school/yeshiva.
"He told me that these studies had shaped his thought process and deepened his understanding, giving him a unique perspective. Once he shared that with me, I became eager to explore the Torah too. Naturally, studying it and learning about Israel's history intensified my bond with Judaism and the Jewish people," said Milei.
"A few years back, a friend of mine from the Jewish community, Mr. Julio Goldstein, who shares my political views, set up a meeting for me with his rabbi. He introduced me to his rabbi but didn't join the meeting himself. In this lengthy meeting, I started learning about the history of the Jewish people, about the Torah given to them in the Sinai desert, about ideas of Kabbalah, the unseen, and a lot more. I left that meeting feeling inspired and started studying the Torah regularly since then. I fondly remember how Julio Goldstein and I would have debates on specific Torah topics and compete over who knew more," he said.
When asked about his goals as Argentina's president, Milei responded, "There's a lot we need to change in Argentina, starting from the basics. But primarily, I want to rejuvenate, stabilize, and boost the Argentine economy, eradicate corruption, and turn Argentina into a better country— a role model for other countries in our region and around the world."