(Shutterstock) (Shutterstock)
Israel Paraguay

Israel and Paraguay maintain close relations on a number of levels and collaborate in a number of areas including water, agriculture, education and medicine.

In an event that was said to be “a full historic circle,” on Monday Israel officially reopened its embassy in Asunción, Paraguay, after it was closed in 2002 along with 15 other embassies around the world, due to budgetary constraints.

Ambassador Peleg Levi hosted the ceremony, which was attended by many senior Paraguayan officials, including the President of the Supreme Court, the President of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Labor, Chairman of the Manufacturers Association, members of parliament and leaders of the Jewish community of Paraguay.

“The government of Paraguay stood by Israel during Operation Protective Edge, a time when Israel was criticized by many countries,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a Wednesday statement. “More recently, Paraguay supported Israel at major international forums. Israel cooperates with Paraguay in the battle against terrorism and maintains a supportive role in actions against Hezbollah at the tri-border region.”

The two nations maintain a bilateral free trade agreement within the framework of Mercosur – the South American Common Market.

Sophisticated Israeli risk-prevention systems have been installed at the Itaipú hydroelectric power plant, one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the world.

Last June, Israel delivered drip irrigation systems to Paraguayan farmers, a result of collaboration with local cooperatives.

Earlier in January 2015, Israel donated food and assistance kits to help Paraguayans displaced by massive flooding in the region, the worst in half a century.

The bilateral balance of trade stands at $200 million. Large-scale meat imports form a large portion of Israel’s trade with Paraguay.

Israel maintains close cooperation with Paraguay in the areas of water, agriculture, education and medicine, and recently the two countries’ agriculture ministers exchanged visits and signed agreements of cooperation in the field of agricultural technology.

Paraguay opened its embassy in Israel in July 2013.

Paraguay’s President Horacio Manuel Cartes made history in July when he arrived in Israel for the first state visit by a president of Paraguay to the Jewish State.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel