Venezuela’s self-declared leader Juan Guaido has announced that he will appoint an ambassador to Israel, the Venezuelan news channel VPItv reported on Tuesday.
According to a tweet by the country’s National Assembly on Tuesday, Venezuelan Rabbi Pynchas Brener has been contacted for the ambassadorial post. Rabbi Brener, 88, was appointed Chief Rabbi of the Israelite Union of Caracas in 1967, according to the Union’s website. Since 2011, Rabbi Brener has lived in Miami.
Venezuela officially severed diplomatic ties with Israel in the aftermath of the 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who was a harsh critic of Israel.
Earlier this year, Guaido stated in an interview with Israeli media that he would work to restore the relations between the two countries.
After emerging as leader of the opposition to Nicolas Maduro, Guaido was elected president of the National Assembly in December 2018. The opposition party had won a two-thirds majority of Congress in a landslide vote in 2015, taking control of the assembly for the first time in 16 years.
Maduro’s government, however, refused to recognize any of its decisions.
Guaido has been recognized as Venezuela’s president by more than 50 countries, including the United States and Israel, the European Union and most Latin American countries.
Should Rabbi Brener be appointed to the post, he would be the first Venezuelan ambassador to Israel since diplomatic ties with Israel were severed a decade ago.
About 5,000 Jews currently live in Venezuela.