Meretz Chairwoman Tamar Zandberg has called on Israel’s Culture Ministry to rescind its invitation of the Honduran president to Israel’s annual torch-lighting ceremony due to crimes against humanity. “Honduras is one of the most corrupt and dangerous regimes in the world for its citizens,” she wrote in a letter to Israel’s Culture Minister.

Tamar Zandberg

Tamar Zandberg Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir/TPS

The head of the left-wing Meretz party has called for Israel to withdraw the participation of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández at the annual torch-lighting ceremony on Israel’s Independence Day. The MK called the decision to invite the leader an excuse intended to enable the participation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a letter sent to Culture Minister Miri Regev, Tamar Zandberg accused the Honduran government of committing serious human rights violations against its citizens. “Honduras is one of the most corrupt and dangerous regimes in the world for its citizens,” Zandberg stated in her letter.  “Reports say the civil police, the military police and the Honduran army were involved in a series of serious human rights violations, harassment, torture, and extrajudicial killings” of anyone perceived to be opposed to the government’s policies, she wrote.

Zandberg added that the military police in the country were involved in such crimes as abductions and rape and had received complete protection by a corrupt judicial system. Due to these reasons, Zandberg urged Regev, to “revoke the decision” to invite the leader to the Israeli ceremony.

“The words ‘for the honor of the State of Israel,’ which are uttered during the lighting of the torches and are intended to praise all that is good and beautiful in the State of Israel, will pale in the face of this unwanted guest and the circumstances of his invitation,” Zandberg said.

As previously reported by JOL, Regev confirmed the president’s attendance on Wednesday and said she was “glad and proud” he would be lighting a torch during the event. Hernández will be the first foreign head of state to participate in the traditional  ceremony.