Leader of Hispanic immigrants to Israel, dies at 62

Jose Caro helped other Spanish-speaking immigrants acclimate to life in Israel, fought for justice after Argentina terror attacks.

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Memorial candle
Memorial candle

Jose Caro, an Argentinean immigrant to Israel who lead an organization to assist and integrate Hispanic immigrants in Israel, has died.

Caro, the president of the Association of Latin-American Immigrants or OLEI based in Raanana, died on Monday at the age of 62.

Through OLEI, Caro helped Spanish-speaking new immigrants to Israel to integrate into their new society, struggled for the application of the Law of Return in Spain and Portugal, and also promoted events for members to gather and share, focused on cultural activities.

He was the founder of the international Spanish-language book fair with the official participation of global Spanish-speaking institutions such as the Cervantes Institute of Spain and the embassies of Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Panamá, Paraguay and Peru.

He also founded the “Ritmo Latino” cultural center, a home for artistic expression from the Hispanic world and whose main project was to create a Spanish-language theater company to present works throughout Israel.

As a director of the book fair, he also involved Israelis that contributed to the development of the Spanish language in Israel. For example, the 2016 fair included Israeli singer David Broza, who often sings in Spanish; Yair Dori, the Argentine-Israeli producer of Telenovelas, a Spanish-language Israeli soap opera; and an orchestra playing Spanish and Hebrew songs to more than 1,200 attendees.

An attorney, Caro also carried on the struggle for justice over the two terrorist attacks targeting Jewish sites in his home country: the 1992 attack against the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, and the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires; and also kept alive the memory of late AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died in 2015.

He is survived by his wife and four children.

Some 120,000 Latin Americans live in Israel, including 80,000 from Argentina.