In 1991, Juan Orlando Hernandez, at the age of 22, was selected for Israel’s Mashav leadership program, which he described as “a life-changing experience and the origin of my deep admiration for Israel”.
In November 2013, Hernandez became the first Mashav graduate to be elected president of his country.
Upon taking office, President Hernandez shifted the UN voting posture of Honduras, becoming one of the two countries in Latin America, and one of the five in the world, to most often abstain from resolutions opposed by Israel.
In October 2015, speaking before the World Jewish Congress in Jerusalem, he declared, “As long as I'm president, Honduras will stand behind Israel”
After the United States announced the move of its embassy to Jerusalem, Honduras was one of only two countries with embassies in Israel that joined Israel and the US in opposing the UN resolution of condemnation that passed 128-9.
When Ambassador Nikki Haley went to Honduras to say thank you for the support at the UN, President Hernandez said, “we vote with Israel because it is the right thing to do, and we would do it again.”
In June of 2018, Honduras, next in rotation to assume the presidency of the UN General Assembly, was defeated 128-62 after an anti-Israel bloc promoted a rival candidate.
On New Year’s Day 2019, President Hernandez, Israeli PM Netanyahu and US Sec of State Pompeo met and issued a joint statement that they “agreed to pursue a plan of action, which includes meetings in their three respective capitals, to advance the process of the decision to open embassies in both Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem.”
On September 1, 2019, President Hernandez led the ceremony in Jerusalem at which Honduras officially opened its diplomatic office in the capital city of Israel as an extension of its Embassy.