Community in Argentina - World Jewish Congress

According to the World Population Review, Argentina had an estimated 175,000 Jews in 2021, making it the largest in Latin America and the seventh-largest globally. The majority of Argentine Jews are Ashkenazi, with roots in Central and Eastern Europe, but there is a significant Sephardic minority. The Argentinian-Jewish population is diverse in terms of religious and cultural affiliations, as well as socioeconomic status. It continues to play an important role in business, politics, and the liberal arts.

The Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA) is the formal Argentinian affiliate of the World Jewish Congress, but there is a long-standing cooperation between the DAIA and the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), which participates actively in meetings of the WJC Plenary Assembly and Governing Board under the DAIA umbrella.

WJC Affiliate
Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA)

(54 11) 4378-3200

Victor Garelik
Guillermo Amos Linetzky
Daniel Pomerantz

Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA)
Pasteur 633 7º
Buenos Aires, 1028

Telephone: (54 11) 4378-3200

Social Media:

Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas and AMIA
X: @DAIAArgentina and @InfoAMIA
YouTube: DAIA Argentina and AMIA Online

President: Jorge Knoblovits, DAIA President & WJC Vice President

Jews have lived in the territory that now constitutes Argentina for centuries, with many of the earliest Jewish settlers seeking refuge from the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. Despite the centuries of Jewish settlement, however, there is little record of Jewish life in the country before the 19th century. Beginning in 1854, Argentina experienced several waves of Jewish immigration, leading to the establishment in 1862 of the Israelite Congregation of Buenos Aires, the first Jewish institution in the country. Immigration sped up in the 1880s with the arrival of significant numbers of Eastern European Jews, escaping the pervasive antisemitism and violence of Russia. It was at this time that several Jewish agricultural settlements were established by Baron Maurice de Hirsch through the Jewish Colonization Association, giving rise to the mythical figure of the Jewish gaucho, or cowboy.

During the period leading up to World War I, this primarily Ashkenazi population was bolstered with the arrival of Jews from the Levant. In 1894, the country’s various Jewish organizations united in what would later come to be called the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) and would evolve into Argentina’s central Jewish institution. The Jewish community began urbanizing and in the decades after the war, there was little sign left of the country’s once flourishing Jewish agricultural communities.

The World Jewish Congress has had a strong connection to the Argentinian Jewish community ever since August 1936, when six Argentinian delegates were among the founders of the WJC in Geneva. The Latin American Jewish Congress, headed today by Adrian Werthein, is the WJC’s regional affiliate.

In March 2016, the WJC held a special plenary assembly in Buenos Aires. Claudio Epelman, the Executive Director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, serves as the WJC’s Commissioner for Interfaith Relations.

The Years of the Holocaust

During the 1930s, Jews fleeing the rise of European fascism began making their way to Latin America, including Argentina. In response, the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) created the Avigdor colony to accommodate Central European Jews fleeing Hitler. Following World War II, around 8,000 Jewish refugees arrived in Argentina. They were accompanied by around 5,000 former Nazis who escaped Europe with the aid of former Argentine President Juan Peron, whose government established escape routes through Spain and Italy. The most famous of these was Adolf Eichmann, one of the primary organizers of the Holocaust. He was kidnapped by agents of Israeli intelligence in 1960 and brought to Israel, where he was subsequently tried and executed.

AMIA and Israeli Embassy Bombings

In 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was bombed, killing 22 people and wounding a further 242. The United States blamed Hezbollah, claiming that the Lebanese terrorist organization had perpetrated the attack on behalf of Iran.

Two years later, a car bomb exploded in front of the AMIA building in downtown Buenos Aires, killing 85 and wounding 300. It was the largest terrorist attack in Argentinian history. Investigations into the bombing, for which Iran was also blamed, have continued until the present day. In 2015, following years of judicial irregularities, government prosecutor Alberto Nisman, himself a member of the Jewish community, accused then-President Cristina Kirchner of covering for Iran. Soon after, Nisman was found dead in his Buenos Aires apartment.


Argentina is home to nearly 200,000 Jews, making it the largest Jewish community in Latin America and the seventh largest in the world. About 70% of the total Jewish population of Argentina is Ashkenazi, from Central and Eastern Europe, while 30% is Sephardic, from Spain, Portugal, Morocco, the Balkans, Syria, Turkey and North Africa.

80% of Argentine Jews reside in the City of Buenos Aires, with an additional 11,00 Jews living in Rosario and Cordoba. There are also sizable Jewish communities in the cities of Santa Fe, Corrientes, La Plata, Bahía Blanca, Mendoza and Mar del Plata.

Community Life

The primary Jewish political institution is the Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas (DAIA), which lobbies for the interests of the community and its constituent organizations. Its work is complimented by the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), which focuses on religious and cultural activities. AMIA is also responsible for social services, including education, healthcare, employment, burial services and more. The headquarters of the Latin American Jewish Congress are located in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires is home to an independent branch of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, which was first founded in Vilnius (Vilna) in the 1920s. There is also a Jewish museum, three libraries, and four Jewish bookstores. Cordoba has an impressive community center, and in Argentina, the Maccabi Sports Federation is also very active.

Religious and Cultural Life
Kosher Food
Jewish Education

There are almost 100 Jewish educational institutions in Argentina, from kindergarten to high schools, affiliated with a variety of denominations.


Numerous Jewish youth groups, both secular and religiously observant, are active across the country.

Jewish Media

Argentina boasts several Jewish periodicals and media outlets, including the Jewish News Agency, Vis a Vis, and Itón Gadol.

The AMIA produces a television show entitled AMIA el Legado, ("AMIA the Legacy") which is broadcast once a week on public television. Radio Jai operates as a Jewish radio station, broadcasting from Buenos Aires.

The Latin American Jewish Congress, based in Argentina, publishes a magazine called Coloquio, which features contributions by notable intellectuals, writers, philosophers, academics, and political, religious, and social leaders.

Information for Visitors

Visitors to Argentina may be interested in visiting the Jewish Museum of Buenos Aires, the Synagogue of the Israelite Congregation of the Argentine Republic, known as "Templo Libertad", the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the Anne Frank Museum, the Great Temple of Paso, the Argentine Hebraic Society, and the Holocaust Museum. Visitors may also wish to see the Plaza de la Memoria, where the Israeli Embassy used to stand.

Relations with Israel

Argentina was one of the first countries to recognize Israel after its independence and the two nations established diplomatic relations soon after. In 2010, under the leadership of President Cristina Kirchner, Argentina announced its intention to join Brazil in recognizing an independent Palestinian state, provoking strong criticism from Israel.

However, under President Mauricio Macri, who took office in 2015, relations have improved significantly, and in 2017 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli premier to visit Argentina. Israel maintains an embassy in Buenos Aires and has honorary consulates in Cordoba and Mendoza.

In July 2019, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Jewish community center, AMIA, President Mauricio Macri designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

In 2020, nearly a month after President Alberto Fernandez took office, he participated in the Fifth World Holocaust Forum 2020 in Israel.

Israeli Embassy:
Av. de Mayo 701,
Buenos Aires C1070
Telephone: +54 11 3724 4500

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