Jews from Latin America could be Hezbollah terror target
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Latin American Jews could be targeted by the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah as they have been in the past, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday night.
“The possibility that there could be a terror attack, like what to my sorrow we saw in Argentina [in the early 1990s] is something that could certainly happen,” the Blue and White leader said.
“I do not know of a specific threat that could happen now, but the danger exists,” Gantz said.
He spoke at a special virtual Zoom gathering for Jews who live in Latin America to mark the eighth day of Hanukkah, which was sponsored by both the Jewish Agency and the Strategic Affairs Ministry.
One of the participants, a leader of the São Paulo Jewish community, asked Gantz about the danger of a terror attack, particularly from Hezbollah, in light of the large Lebanese community that lives in Latin America.
In 1994, 87 people were killed in a bombing attack in Argentina on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), which was linked to Hezbollah and Iran.
Hezbollah has tentacles globally and in Latin America in particular, Gantz said. It is therefore important to work with the local authorities to ensure both personal and institutional safety, he added.
Israel also knows how to help Jewish communities organize around issues of safety, he said.
There has also been danger in Europe, Gantz said, referencing attacks in Germany, France and Bulgaria, he said.
‘We must be alert,” he added.
Gantz called on nations to recognize Hezbollah as a terror organization. In the past Israel has clarified that both Hezbollah’s political and military wings must be targeted.
Sanctions against Iran are also an important tool in halting terror, he said, adding that money Iran received when sanctions were lifted didn’t go to its citizens but went instead to sponsoring terror.
Among the participants were Jewish Agency Chairman Issac Herzog and Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich and Strategic Affairs Minister Michael Biton, both from the Blue and White Party.