Argentina’s Milei Plans ‘Spiritual’ Trip to US and Israel Before Taking Office

(Bloomberg) -- Argentina’s president-elect, Javier Milei, plans to visit the US and Israel before taking office on Dec. 10., reflecting how he wants to realign the country’s foreign policy priorities.

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“The trip has more of a spiritual meaning more than other characteristics,” Milei said in a radio interview Monday without providing many specifics.

Milei won Argentina’s presidential election by a landslide, defeating the incumbent candidate, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, by nearly 12 percentage points, a margin nobody expected. The outsider has repeatedly pledged to deepen relations with the US and Israel, a shift away from the current government’s approach to focus more on relations with Brazil and China.

Milei will visit Miami and New York before heading to Israel “in the coming days.” He confirmed he would meet with rabbis on the trip. He added that he discussed the Israel trip with the country’s ambassador to Argentina on Sunday. The trip will be read as backing Israel’s strategy in Gaza at a time other Latin American leaders have questioned it.

Milei has been critical of President Alberto Fernandez’s handling of 21 Argentines who were taken hostage by Hamas in October. The youngest captives include a 5-year-old and a 9-month-old baby and they have yet to be freed, according to local news reports. Argentina is home to one of the world’s largest Jewish communities outside Israel.

Israel Foreign Affairs Minister Eli Cohen congratulated the president-elect on X, formerly known as Twitter, while extending an invite.

“We hope to work with you to strengthen relations between Israel and Argentina and deepen the ties between the countries,” Cohen wrote in a Spanish post. “I invite you to soon visit Israel to continue our dialogue and inaugurate the Argentine Embassy in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

After winning first place in the primary election in August, Milei traveled to Miami to pray and learn about Judaism ahead of Rosh Hashanah.

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