(QCOSTARICA) Costa Rica launched an official Israel Allies Caucus in its parliament last week, becoming the 33rd country in the world to do so, officials present at the event said Sunday.
The caucus was facilitated by The Israel Allies Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting communication between parliamentarians and legislators around the world who share the belief that the State of Israel has the right to exist in peace within secure borders.
“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.
The Costa Rican Israel Allies Caucus consists of Legislative President, Rafael Ortiz and a dozen other parliament members from five different parties: 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.
“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,” Prendas, the chairwoman of the caucus, told her fellow parliamentarians. We are here to increase efforts in that direction. That is precisely the reason for this activity.”
Twenty parliamentarians, including the Ortiz and three members of the board of the Legislative Assembly, signed a foundation document at the meeting that 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.”
The parliament members were joined at the launch by Tal Naim, Israel’s Consul General in Costa Rica.
Guevara said he was one of two MPs from Costa Rica who attended the 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.
The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus was established in 2004 and consists of 17 members of Knesset from six political parties. The caucus aims to open formal and direct lines of communication between Knesset members and Christian leaders, organizations and political representatives around the world. The foundation, which coordinates the activities of the 33 Israel Allies Caucuses around the world, was founded 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.”