Argentinian president appoints his rabbi as ambassador to Israel

Rabbi Axel Wahnish accompanied him to the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe following his victory.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

Argentina’s new president intends to appoint the rabbi who has served as his spiritual advisor for the last two years as the Latin American country’s new envoy to the State of Israel.

Argentine media outlets reported on Tuesday that President Javier Milei — a populist outsider who won a surprise victory in last month’s presidential election — has named Rabbi Axel Wahnish as Argentina’s Ambassador in Tel Aviv.

Milei was introduced to Wahnish by a mutual friend in 2021 after the former was lambasted on social media as a “Nazi.” In the intervening period, the two developed a close relationship, studying Torah and other Jewish texts together, with the Catholic Milei saying openly that were it not for the duties of his office, which require him to work on the Sabbath and on Jewish holidays, he would convert to Judaism. After his election victory, Milei’s first visit abroad was to New York, where he visited the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe accompanied by Wahnish.

On Sunday night, Washnish was among the speakers at an inter-religious service to mark Milei’s inauguration at the Buenos Aires Cathedral that was also attended by Christian and Muslim faith leaders.

“Much is said about the faith that man has to have in God, but sometimes we forget a small detail: the faith that God has in us,” Wahnish told the gathering. “God has faith in you, Mr. President. He has faith that we are all going to stand up together to build a society with freedom, justice, and goodness.”

On foreign policy matters, Milei’s administration is expected to engage in a 180-degree turn, energetically supporting Israel in its war against Hamas following the Oct. 7 terrorist atrocities, as well as Ukraine as it prepares to mark the second anniversary of the Russian invasion. Among the visitors to Buenos Aires for Milei’s inauguration was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Wahnish is reported to already be preparing for his new role, attending a meeting on Sunday with newly-appointed Argentine Foreign Minister Diana Mondino and her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen. During his election campaign, Milei spoke positively about moving the Argentine Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, although that prospect has not been raised again since his victory at the polls.