By Greer Fay Cashman, THE JERUSALEM POST
President Shimon Peres and President Leonel Fernández Reyna of the Dominican Republic have reached an agreement for in-depth bilateral cooperation on solar energy, technology, agriculture and water conservation.
Fernández, who is on a working visit to Israel, was given an official reception by Peres on Monday.
The two presidents discussed the geopolitical situation in Latin America and the relations of the Dominican Republic with its neighbors. At the opposite end of the spectrum they talked about Israel’s relations with her neighbors.
Although the Jewish community in the Dominican Republic numbers only around 200 people out of a total population of 9,400,000, there is a Chabad House serving locals Jews and foreign Jewish business people, where Chabad emissary Rabbi Shimon Pelman began operating nearly two years ago.
Perlman met with Fernández in the National Palace in Santa Domingo late last month. Perlman, who was accompanied by a group of business people, told Fernández that Chabad wanted to demonstrate its appreciation for the saving of Jewish lives during the Holocaust by using the Chabad House to encourage Jewish business and investment in the Dominican Republic. Fernández immediately offered Chabad any assistance that it needed, including funding of Chabad programs and police protection if requested.
Pelman and his wife, Michal, operate a Jewish kindergarten and are active in adult education. In addition, Chabad provides kosher food for all who want it.
Fernández and Pelman also discussed the president’s visit to Israel, which is largely aimed at learning how to replicate Israel’s technological achievements in the Dominican Republic, which suffers from dire problems in the realms of energy and electricity.