Lawmakers in Honduras voted on Thursday to relocate the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Israel congratulates the National Congress of Honduras for passing with an overwhelming majority a resolution in favor of opening an Embassy in Jerusalem,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Twitter.
Honduran lawmakers approved the measure 59-33, which now must be approved by the executive branch.
“A notice has been sent to the secretary of state in the Foreign Ministry who handles [Honduran] ties to the Israeli people, according to which Honduras should consider moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv,” said National Congress First Secretary Jose Tomas Zambrano Molina.
Earlier this week, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced that Guatemala will open its new embassy in Jerusalem just two days after the United States in mid-May.
Like its Central American neighbor, Honduras has been strongly supportive of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the American embassy there.
Israel and Honduras also enjoy a strong relationship. In March, Israel announced it would be expanding cooperation with Honduras in areas such as security, economic development, education, health and the environment.
Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández was also scheduled to take part in Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations next week, but was forced to withdraw from the event over human-rights objections from some in Israel.
See also my post Paraguay and Honduras are reported to be ready "in principle" to move their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem (March 16, 2018)
December 28, 2018 update: As reported by Jewish News Service, December 28, 2018:
Honduras has been in discussions with Israel to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to a report from Honduran news outlet Prensa Libre.April 3, 2019 update: As reported by Jewish News Syndicate, March 29, 2019:
“There is a negotiation, discussions with the Honduran authorities, and for the moment no decision has been made,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahson told the publication.
Reportedly, in return for relocating its embassy, Honduras has asked Israel to upgrade its consulate in Tegucigalpa to an embassy, in addition to assist on issues such as cyber security, water management and crime prevention.
Currently, the United States and Guatemala have their embassies in Jerusalem. Paraguay relocated its embassy to the Israeli capital in May only to move it back to Tel Aviv after President Mario Abdo Benítez reversed his predecessor’s decision in September.
Christian and Jewish leaders met with Honduran President Juan Carlos Hernández in Washington, D.C., this week to applaud his decision to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.
The 20 Christian and Jewish leaders were part of an event hosted by the Latino Coalition for Israel.
“As part of Latino Coalition for Israel’s Jerusalem Task Force Mission, we have been dialoging with President Hernández and Honduran church leaders over the past year to encourage the move of their embassy to Jerusalem,” said Mario Bramnick, president of Latino Coalition for Israel.
Bramnick continued: “We were very honored to host President Hernández at this meeting, to show our great appreciation for his strong support for Israel and for the further practical steps President Hernandez will soon take in the course of officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We look forward to seeing this process successfully culminate in Honduras’ inauguration of its embassy in Jerusalem.
At the 2019 AIPAC Policy Conference on Sunday, Hernández recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced that his country will eventually open its embassy there.
“Today, I have announced the first step, which is to open a trade office in Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel, and this will be an extension of our embassy in Tel Aviv,” he said in a statement issued by his government.
Adam Milstein, a prominent leader of the Israeli-American Community, who attended the meeting, said Hernández’s move was a “courageous decision.”
“We commend his leadership as President Hernández bravely stands up to those who continually try to deny the historic connection of the Jewish people to their homeland, the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem,” said Milstein. “Today, Hondurans and Americans alike stand on the right side of history, united against common detractors who seek to destroy our way of life.”