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Intel: Why Israel is recognizing the opposition in Venezuela

Demonstrators take part in a rally against Israel's offensive in Gaza, at Plaza Bolivar in downtown Caracas January 8, 2009. The U.N. Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on Thursday but Israeli warplanes kept up attacks.  REUTERS/Edwin Montilva (VENEZUELA) - GM1E5190U8901

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that Israel now recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's official leader instead of President Nicolas Maduro. The decision follows similar moves by the United States, Canada and several Latin American and European countries but breaks with a tradition of Israeli non-interventionism.

Why it matters: Israel’s Channel 13 reports that a US State Department official formally requested that Israel take a stance during a meeting at the Israeli Embassy in Washington on Thursday. Israel typically prefers to stay out of internal clashes like the one in Venezuela, even when the conflict is on its border like the civil war in Syria, partly for fear of sparking a backlash against Jews.

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