(JNS.org) Israeli President Shimon Peres on Monday welcomed Peruvian President Ollanta Humala with a reception at Peres's Jerusalem residence. Humala, who is visiting Israel as part of a larger tour of the Middle East, also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who declared that the Israeli relationship with Peru "will have big branches in coming years."
"Peru hopes to strengthen ties with countries in the Middle East, promoting areas of mutual interest to support development, environment conservation and intercultural dialogue while giving a boost to trade and investment ties and strengthening cooperation in key areas," the Peruvian congress said in a statement ahead of the trip, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Fred Reich, a Peruvian Jewish leader and member of the board of the American Jewish Committee's Latino and Latin American Institute, joined Humala on his trip to Israel among a delegation that included other Peruvian political, business, and Jewish leaders.
"Peru has long viewed Israel as a strategic partner in the country's economic development," said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC's Latino and Latin American Institute (LLAI). "It has benefited from the Jewish state's agricultural and security technology, and has received assistance in other areas as well. Israeli companies have invested more than one billion dollars in Peru, primarily in the fields of agriculture, medicine, energy and telecommunications."