Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday inaugurated the Paraguay Embassy in Yerushalayim – making that country the third in the last week, after Guatemala and the United States, to do so.
Romania, the Czech Republic and Honduras have said they are also considering doing the same.
Calling Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes “a special friend,” Netanyahu said that he was happy that the country had taken the “bold step” and moved its embassy.
“This is a historic day that strengthens ties between Paraguay and Israel,” Cartes said at the opening ceremony of the embassy.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Netanyahu said that Jews remembered Paraguay for its help in the Holocaust era. “Paraguay helped Jews escaped from Nazi Germany before, during and after the Holocaust,” Netanyahu said. “We have great cooperation together,” and the time had come to “enable that cooperation to blossom. We want to do more,” Netanyahu added, “and you have not just the support of my government, but the appreciation of the Jewish people. We remember our friends.”
President Reuven Rivlin said at the event that he was positive that Paraguay would inspire other countries to move their embassies to Israel as well. “Paraguay is thousands of kilometers away from Israel, but our hearts are close,” Rivlin said, adding that the country had been “a true friend of Israel’s for more than 70 years.”
Speaking at the event, Cartes said that “many people” have asked him why he undertook the potentially controversial step. “We decided to put things in their right place,” Cartes said. “We don’t owe you anything and you don’t owe us anything. This is just the right thing to do.”