(June 26, 2019 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera on Wednesday to further the relationship between Jerusalem and Santiago.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding between Israel’s Science Ministry and the Chilean National Authority for Scientific and Technological Research, as well as agreements related to aviation, and a declaration of intent on health and medical cooperation between the two countries’ health ministries.
“Israel and Chile have a lot in common,” said Netanyahu. “We share values of democracy and human rights. We share a belief in market economies and both of us have done a few things to promote these values in our respective countries.”
“We believe in entrepreneurship. We believe in creativity. We have relatively small, not so small, but relatively small, very vibrant economies,” he continued. “It’s recognized by the countries in Latin America, Chile’s capacity in this regard just as the countries of the Middle East and the world recognize Israel’s capacities as an innovation nation.”
Piñera said “the Chilean Embassy will remain in Tel Aviv. Chile defends and is in favor of a two-state solution: an Israeli state and a Palestinian state.”
As part of his three-day visit, Piñera drew controversy when he visited the Temple Mount on Tuesday with senior Palestinian officials.
However, he apologized to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin for permitting Palestinian officials to accommodate him during the Temple Mount visit.
“Israel had agreed that Piñera could go up to the Temple Mount—known to Palestinians as al-Haram al-Sharif—but the Foreign Ministry presumed he would do so, as is customary, together with Wakf officials” in accordance with the Oslo accords, reported The Jerusalem Post.
Chile has the largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East and has seen increasing anti-Semitism in recent years.
Piñera also visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem.
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