Ecuadorian Presidential in Historic Visit to Israel: ‘A Turning Point’ in Relations with Israel

PM Bennett and Ecuadoran Pres. Guillermo Lasso. Photo courtesy of Haim Zach (Israeli GPO)

Last week, Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso became the first president of his country to visit Israel, and he wasn’t just focusing on that historic moment in the relations between the two nations. He was looking to the future as well. “My government and I, personally, think that this visit represents a turning point in the relations between our countries,” Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso was quoted as saying in an Israeli press release during his visit with Israeli President Isaac Herzog last Wednesday. “The relationship with Israel depends on us, Mr. President. Our door is always open to collaboration and profound friendship. Now we know much better: Israel and Ecuador are sister states. We share a desire for joint progress and for peace.”

As a symbol of that goal of strengthened ties, Ecuador is opening an innovation office in Jerusalem. Furthermore, The Jerusalem Post reported—citing Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General Jonathan Peled—that Lasso told them his nation will be adjusting its approach to be more supportive of Israel at the United Nations. That represents a shift for a country The Jerusalem Post noted has been part of the group that regularly votes against Israel at the international body.

The Israeli press release summarizing the discussion between Lasso and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday hinted at that shift in UN approach and expressed Israel’s appreciation for it and other cooperation efforts. “The two discussed bilateral cooperation in innovation, technology and public security. Prime Minister Bennett commended President Lasso on the innovation office that Ecuador is establishing in Jerusalem alongside that of Colombia and also thanked him for leading a change in Ecuadoran policy toward Israel,” said the Israeli statement.

Herzog, during his meet with Lasso, celebrated the South American leader’s achievements.

“You are demonstrating wise and vigorous leadership in many fields, working tirelessly for the sake of your country and its people, and I am sure that your visit in Israel will bear fruit for both our nations,” said Herzog, per the Israeli press release. “We are so excited that after centuries, a President of Ecuador has come here, to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and the capital of the Jewish People.”

Herzog further offered the hope that “we may continue, together, to strengthen ties between our countries.”

If Lasso’s experience in Israel is any indication, Herzog’s hope of future progress is well-founded. Said Lasso in the Israeli press statement, “I want to say that we came to Israel with very many expectations, which have all been met thus far.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, May 15, 2022

What do you think?