Honduran president cancels participation in Israel’s 70th-anniversary ceremony

Honduran president cancels participation in Israel’s 70th-anniversary ceremony

Following controversy in Israel, Honduran President Hernández will not take part in a torch-lighting ceremony marking Israel’s 70th Independence Day.

By: JNS and World Israel News Staff

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has announced that Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández will not take part in a torch-lighting ceremony marking Israel’s 70th Independence Day.

“Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández will not attend Israel’s 70th-anniversary festivities, as originally planned,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The Foreign Ministry regrets his not coming and welcomes the friendship between the two countries.”

It was announced last week that Hernández would become the first foreign leader to take part in the annual torch-lighting ceremony. However, the announcement stirred controversy in Israel, with many criticizing his country’s poor human-rights record. This led to the Honduran government cancelling his participation out of concern that he would be a distraction.

Member of Knesset (MK) Tamar Zandberg, leader of the extreme left-wing Meretz faction, who was  vocal in her opposition to Hernández’s invitation by Israel, asserted that the country should thank her for “saving it from an embarrassing hug from a dubious personality.”

Nevertheless, the Central American country is a strong supporter of Israel.

In February, Honduras was one of only eight countries that opposed a United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s December recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, along with Guatemala, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo, and, of course, Israel.

Honduras is considering moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.