Within the framework of his progressive conversion to Judaism after having been educated in Catholicism, Javier Milei had said in the campaign that if he became president he wanted to make a “spiritual trip” to Israel. Already as president, he announced that he also wanted to travel to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis because of its religious dimension on a global level. But the journey that he is beginning will not be limited to the religious, but will have relevant political connotations.
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For now, Milei arrives in Israel in the midst of an offensive by Israeli forces against Hamas in Gaza and great tension throughout the Middle East. And while it is true that in Israel Milei will visit the Wailing Wall and the museum that evokes the horror of the Holocaust, he also plans to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express his solidarity in the fight against terrorism and even plans to visit one of the kibbutzim attacked on the fateful October 7.
Of course, if he does not say a word about the civilian victims in Gaza, his attitude could be criticized in the Muslim world. Furthermore, it remains to be seen if the Argentine president insists on his idea of moving the Argentine embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following the path set by Donald Trump. An idea that opposes the traditional position of the United Nations and even the Vatican, which consider the city multi-religious, not exclusive to Israel.
The keys to Milei's visit to Pope Francis
Milei and the Pope came closer after differences in the campaign.
As for the visit to the Pope, Milei made it coincide with the canonization of the first Argentine saint, Mama Antula (Mauricio Macri as president had also attended the canonization of the first Argentine saint; Cura Brochero). But her meeting the next day with Francis carries obvious political tension, not only because of the libertarian's disqualifications of the pontiff and Jorge Bergoglio's own sharp allusions to him.
Those clashes seem to have been left behind since Milei's repeated requests for apologies and the telephone conversation they had 36 hours after the victory of the Libertad Avanza leader in the runoff, far from all protocol and very cordial. To which was added a thoughtful letter that the president sent him at the beginning of January to formally invite him to visit Argentina, just as the Episcopal Conference had done.
Now what counts in the bond between the Pope and Milei is whether the libertarian will continue with his style of confrontation as seen in the debate in the Chamber of Deputies of the Omnibus Law, where even several of those inclined to vote for it received their criticism. , and his disqualifications of various figures through the social network X; or if he chooses to avoid adding more tension to an already very divided society.
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Also important is the attention that the Government will provide to those most affected by high inflation and adjustment. Precisely, a change in the way of implementing food assistance to the thousands of community kitchens – they will be given a card to buy the products, after re-registration to make the aid transparent – led to a suspension of its shipment.
The suspension has just raised a complaint from the Church, beyond the good intentions that the government may have with the change of system. Surely, Sandra Pettovello, the Minister of Human Capital – the area that deals with all this – will try to reassure the Pope about social containment because she will be part of the group that will be in the final part of the audience.
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In fact, in Milei's letter to the Pope inviting him to visit Argentina, he explained as great challenges the need to care for the poor while trying to leave the crisis behind and advance the unity of Argentines. And he said that, in pursuit of those goals, he is inspired by Francisco.
Solidarity and unity. Two axes that the meeting between the Pope and Milei will surely have. Two personalities with different visions, but who could set an example of coexistence, which should be imitated by the bellicose Argentine leadership for the good of the country.