After recent primary elections in Argentina, a surprising political figure has emerged as the leading vote-getter. Javier Milei, a self-proclaimed libertarian and economist, has gained attention for his controversial views on various topics, from climate change to sex education. However, what sets him apart is his expressed interest in converting to Judaism.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is Milei’s political background?
Milei is a 52-year-old economist and the leader of the La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances) party.
- Who does Milei study Jewish topics with?
Milei regularly studies Jewish topics with Rabbi Shimon Axel Wahnish, the head of ACILBA, an Argentine-Moroccan Jewish community.
- What percentage of the primary vote did Milei receive?
Milei received 30% of the primary vote, surpassing predictions of 15-20%.
- What are some of Milei’s controversial views?
Milei has expressed skepticism towards climate change, advocated for free market control over organ donations, and criticized sex education as a threat to family values.
- What are Milei’s plans for Argentina’s central bank and public spending?
If elected, Milei intends to dismantle the central bank and significantly reduce public spending.
In an interview with Spain’s El Pais, Milei discussed his consideration of conversion to Judaism, acknowledging that certain obstacles, such as observing Shabbat, would need to be addressed. He has been studying Jewish topics extensively with Rabbi Shimon Axel Wahnish from ACILBA, finding the discussions deeply gratifying and enlightening.
Milei’s rise to prominence has defied expectations, as he secured 30% of the primary vote while being labeled as “far right,” “libertarian,” and “anarcho-capitalist.” His unconventional policy principles, including a strong belief in limited government interference and a disdain for corruption, have resonated with many Argentine voters.
Beyond his political ideologies, Milei’s embrace of Judaism is evident in his speeches. He often quotes Torah passages and has displayed a genuine interest in Jewish history and culture. His visit to the Buenos Aires Holocaust Museum and his pilgrimage to the grave of the revered Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson in New York further emphasize his connection to Judaism.
While Milei’s controversial actions, such as his vote against recognizing the date of the AMIA Jewish center bombing as a national day of mourning, have attracted criticism, his commitment to strengthening ties with Israel remains unwavering. He has declared the United States and Israel as his “great allies” and pledged to relocate Argentina’s embassy to Jerusalem if elected. Furthermore, he envisions his first foreign trip as president to be a journey to Israel, where he intends to deepen his understanding of Jewish scriptures.
It is worth noting that Milei’s dedication to Jewish economists is not limited to his political pursuits. He has named some of his mastiff dogs after renowned Jewish economists, such as Milton Friedman and Murray Rothbard, reflecting his admiration for their intellectual contributions.
As Argentina’s general election approaches in October, the country faces the possibility of having its first Jewish president in history. Javier Milei’s unconventional journey, from his libertarian policy proposals to his exploration of Judaism, adds a unique dimension to the political landscape and provides a fresh perspective on the potential future of Argentina.