Javier Milei, a colorful figure who spoke about the Rebbe on TV and paid a visit to the Ohel, and who has close connections to Argentina Head Shliach Rabbi Tzvi Grunblatt, was elected president of Argentina on Sunday.
By Anash.org reporter
Javier Milei, a colorful figure who spoke about the Rebbe on TV and paid a visit to the Ohel was elected president of Argentina on Sunday.
Milei, a 52-year-old economist who leads the two-year-old La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances) party, garnered over 55% of the national vote, defeating Sergio Massa, the current left-wing government’s economy minister.
Mainly known for being a bombastic anti-establishment campaign that drew comparisons to former US President Donald Trump – all against the backdrop of one of the world’s highest inflation rates, Milei also has a strong Jewish connection.
The economist and former TV and radio pundit has close connections to Argentina’s Head Shliach Rabbi Tzvi Grunblatt. According to reports in Argentinian press, Rabbi Grunblatt helped forge connections between Milei and important businessmen such as Eduardo Elsztain. Milei also study regularly with another rabbi, Rabbi Shimon Axel Wahnish, who heads ACILBA, an Argentine-Moroccan Jewish community based in Buenos Aires.
In public appearances, Milei often quotes Torah passages. He walked out on stage for a campaign event at an arena in Buenos Aires earlier this month to a recording of a shofar.
The newly-elected president has even spoken about the Rebbe on TV and in interviews. In one interview with Argentinian TV, Milei even went into detail about how the Rebbe’s sichos were transcribed after a Shabbos farbrengen and recalled his meeting with one of the Rebbe’s chozrim.
His excitement didn’t remain only on a TV screen, however. This past July, Milei took an 11-hour trip to New York. The reason? To visit the Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens. He also visited 770, where he met with Rabbis Moshe and Mendy Kotlarsky.
After the surprise win, Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky posted pictures of the visit on Facebook and wished the president-elect well. “Congratulations to my dear friend Javier Milei on your election as president of Argentina. May Hashem continue to answer your prayers and bless you along with all the people in Argentina. May this be the beginning of a prosperous and successful era for your country,” he wrote. “Looking forward to hosting you again for a meaningful visit to the Rebbe in the near future.”
Milei also stands out as a staunch supporter of Israel and rallied in public while waving an Israeli flag just this week. During his campaign, he promised to align himself strongly with the USA and Israel.
“Our most natural allies are the United States and Israel. I want nothing to do with the communists of Cuba, China, North Korea. What does that mean? Trade with whoever you want, but I am not going to foment those relationships,” Milei told Tablet Magazine.
Milei has also promised to move the Argentine Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He strongly condemned Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 attack, expressed his support for Israel’s legitimate right to defense, and has promised to be the Argentine president most friendly to Israel.
Perhaps the most astonishing of his statements is his stated desire to convert to Judaism. But for that one, he will wait for a later opportunity.
“It’s very difficult because I wouldn’t be able to fulfill all the precepts due to the demands I’d have as president. You know if you’re a convert, you have to comply with all of the Jewish religious precepts. I was recently in New York and I even had the privilege of visiting the office of the Lubavitcher Rebbe… The thing is, I’d possibly plan to convert after my political career is finished,” he told the Times of Israel.