Brazil President Tells Netanyahu ‘Not Question of If, Just When’ on Jerusalem Embassy Move

PM Netanyahu and Brazilian President-elect Bolsonaro. Photo courtesy of Avi Ohayon (Israeli GPO)

The list of nations with embassies in Jerusalem is looking to grow yet again, as Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the latter’s visit to the country that Brazil is going to move their country’s embassy to Israel’s capital as well. “Mr. Bolsonaro also said this: ‘I will move the embassy to Jerusalem. It’s not a question of if, just a question of when,’” said Netanyahu. “[United States] President [Donald] Trump said the same thing. He moved the embassy. And President Bolsonaro will move the embassy as well.”

While Netanyahu didn’t give a date, President-elect Bolsonaro is set to take power on January 1.

In comments on Sunday released by his office, Netanyahu said Bolsonaro also accepted an invitation to visit Israel with plans to come by March 2019. Said Netanyahu, “I look forward to receiving him with the same spirit and the same brotherhood that he received me and that you are receiving us.”

Netanyahu is the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Brazil and the relationship with the new leader of the Latin American country looks to be very strong. Said Netanyahu, “This is what President-Elect Bolsonaro said yesterday. He said: ‘We are brothers.’ Not ‘We are allies,’ not ‘We have common interests.’ Brothers from the heart.”

And it’s not just Bolsonaro. Netanyahu has experienced a warm welcome from the everyday citizens of Brazil as well. “There must have been about 10,000 people on the beach where we crossed, about that. One shouted ‘Free Palestine.’ That’s it. But thousands received us warmly. Thousands,” said Netanyahu. “And I saw some people playing soccer, football, so I played. I had the opportunity to touch the people, and they had the opportunity to touch us.”

And the connection between Israel and Brazil will grow deeper. According to another press release from Netanyahu’s office last Friday, the leaders “agreed to tighten” cooperation in a number of fields, including technology, economics and security.

Said Netanyahu on Friday, “Today we are forging a great alliance with a huge power of almost 250 million people, which is turning a new page with us, with cooperation that will help the citizens of both countries… I think that this is an additional expression of Israel as a rising global power.”

In comments to leaders of the Brazilian Jewish community on Sunday, Netanyahu was quoted by his office in the press release as noting that Brazil “needs good health, longevity, protection from disease, it needs safe transportation, it needs security. All these things, Israel has. And the reason we have it, is because there’s a revolution in the world, a great revolution. And it is a technological revolution which gives tremendous value to products of the mind.”

The Israeli leader told the Jewish leaders that he and President-elect Bolsonaro agreed that delegations from Israel in a variety of fields would visit Brazil. Said Netanyahu, “This is a partnership that has been meaning to happen, meant to happen, and we’re going to make it happen very fast.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, December 30, 2018)

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