Costa Rica’s parliament launched an official Israel Allies Caucus, becoming the 33rd country worldwide to do so, reported The Jerusalem Post. The move was facilitated by the Israel Allies Foundation, an organization committed to promoting direct communication between parliamentarians and legislators who support Israel’s right to exist in secure borders.
The Costa Rican caucus consists of 13 parliamentarians, including legislative president Rafael Ortiz, Karla Prendas, Paulina Ramírez, Sandra Piszk, Juan Luis Jimenez, Juan Marin and Michael Arce of the National Liberation Party; Otto Guevara, the President of the Libertarian Movement; Gonzalo Ramirez, Abelino Esquivel and Fabricio Alvarado of the two Christian parties; Victor Morales and Marvin Atencio Zapata of the Official Party.
“The establishment of the caucus demonstrates Costa Rica’s profound support for Israel and the importance it places in its bilateral relationship with the Jewish state,” said the foundation’s Latin American coordinator, Leopoldo Martinez.
Prendas, chairwoman of the caucus, told her fellow parliamentarians, “For years, the solidarity and friendship between the people of Costa Rica and Israel has been very clear, but we must constantly nourish and strengthen the relationship. We are here to increase efforts in that direction. That is precisely the reason for this activity.”
At the meeting which established the caucus, 20 parliamentarians, including Ortiz and three members of the board of the Legislative Assembly, signed a foundation document which reaffirmed “the right of the State of Israel and the Jewish People to Jerusalem as its eternal capital,” and recommended “that all the countries move their embassy to Jerusalem.”
Caucus member Guevara said he was one of two Costa Rican MPs who attended the Israel Allies Foundation’s Latin America Summit on Israel in Miami in April.
“It was a wonderful and informative experience. The foundation has an international network of parliamentarians around the world and I strongly encourage everyone to support their efforts,” he said.
Tal Naim, Israel’s Consul General in Costa Rica, attended the launch.
Israel’s own parallel parliamentary entity, the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, was established in 2004 and consists of 17 members from six political parties. Its goal is to open formal and direct lines of communication between Knesset members and Christian leaders, organizations and political representatives around the world. The Israel Allies Foundation was established in 2006.
“Faith Based diplomacy is the only way to turn the tide in the battle for support in Latin America,” said Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus. “Israel’s Christian allies must unite in order to confront the gathering storm.”