"Israel joins the United States, Canada, most of the countries of Latin America and countries in Europe in recognizing the new leadership in Venezuela," said the prime minister in a video message.
Up until now, Israeli officials kept mum on the unrest in Venezuela due to fears it might harm the Jewish community in the Latin American country after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro broke off diplomatic ties with the United States. Maduro’s government has been accused of fostering anti-Semitism and extreme anti-Israeli views due to Venezuela's expanding relations with Iran.
Last week, Maduro ordered American diplomats to leave the country within 72 hours, after Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president during a rally on Wednesday. Guaido's call for elections in the country quickly won the backing of the Trump administration, and was later followed by similar statements from Canada and a slew of right-leaning Latin American governments, including Venezuela’s neighbors Brazil and Colombia.
Venezuela's 20,000 Jewish population has dropped by more than 50 percent over the past decade—with most emigrating to the United States, Mexico or Israel—due to concerns over rising anti-Semitism as well as economic and political unrest in the oil-rich state.
Today, some 5,000-6,000 Jews still live in Venezuela, the majority of whom reside in the capital Caracas. The community preserves the traditional Jewish lifestyle, attending synagogues, Jewish schools and community centers.