Argentina’s presidential primary won by pro-Israel, ‘Torah-loving’ candidate who wants to move embassy to Jerusalem

“My law is the Torah.”

By World Israel News Staff

In an unexpected political development, Javier Milei, a right-wing economist who had considered converting to Judaism and who promised to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, clinched victory in Argentina’s presidential primary on Sunday.

Milei’s flamboyant persona has drawn more than a few comparisons to former US president Donald Trump, who the Argentinian hopeful has said he admires.

Milei has frequently expressed his desire to move the Argentinian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In an interview, he also disclosed his daily Torah studies with a local rabbi.

In a candid conversation with a Spanish newspaper, Milei revealed contemplating conversion to Judaism, though he recognized potential challenges if he were to become president. He explained, “If you’re Jewish by maternal lineage, there’s no obligation to adhere to Judaism’s tenets. However, upon conversion, that commitment becomes binding.”

“If I’m president, and it’s Shabbat, what am I supposed to do? Am I going to disconnect from the country from Friday to Saturday? There are some issues that would make [the religion] incompatible. The rabbi who helps me study says that I should read the Torah from the point of view of economic analysis.”

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Milei, who became fascinated with Judaism after he taught economics to an observant Jew, expressed a desire to “travel to Jerusalem to delve deeper into his studies of the Torah, Talmud, and other Jewish scriptures.”

“My law is the Torah,” he said.

In July, Milei secretly visited the grave of the Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, in New York, the Haaretz newspaper reported.

Milei’s win – in which he secured a surprise 30.5 percent of the vote, comes as a blow to both the center-left Peronist coalition and the conservative bloc, signifying a major shift in Argentina’s political landscape.

With mandatory voting in the primaries for most adults, the primary serves as a precursor to the general election scheduled for October 22, and given the recent voting patterns, it’s evident Milei is the current favorite for the top post.

Argentina currently grapples with economic challenges, marked by over 100 percent annual inflation, increasing poverty, and a swiftly declining currency – which Milei hopes to mitigate by substituting the peso with the U.S. dollar.