Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef is due to return to Israel Monday after spending the past week in Mexico. The visit was very successful, a spokesperson for the Chief Rabbi said – partly thanks to the efforts of Mexican security officials to protect him while in the country.
According to reports on the Kikar Hashabbat site, Rabbi Yosef and his advisors met with many Mexican officials, local and national – but the first one he met was a top representative of the country's Public Security Ministry, who directed Rabbi Yosef on how to ensure he remained safe during the visit.
Throughout the week, Rabbi Yosef was accompanied by an entourage of security troops, and those attending meetings with him had to be cleared by security before being allowed into buildings where those meetings took place. Between meetings, the rabbi was whisked around in an armored jeep, which could withstand a machine gun attack if necessary.
Mexican officials said they did not have any specific information about a threat to Rabbi Yosef's life, the report said, but they were not taking chances.
During the week, Rabbi Yosef met with community leaders in Mexico City and other communities, speaking to students in elementary schools, yeshivas, community centers, and other institutions. About 40,000 Jews live in Mexico, mostly concentrated in Mexico city, with smaller communities in Guadalajara and in Monterrey, whose founder, Luis de Carabajal y Cueva, was persecuted in 1590 for practicing Judaism by the Spanish Inquisition.