Bolsonaro to arrive in Israel just days before elections
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, who has said he will move that country's embassy to Jerusalem, will visit Israel just days before the April 9 elections, the Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday, Trend reports referring to The Jerusalem Post.
According to the ministry's list of expected visitors in March, Bolsonaro is due to arrive on March 31 and leave on April 4.
Bolsonaro's visit, which would be the first since Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva became the first ever Brazilian leader to visit in March 2010, is widely expected to be used by the Netanyahu campaign to underscore his diplomatic experience and successes in forging relations around the world.
Over much of the last two decades, Brazil was unstintingly pro-Palestinian and often among the most critical of Israel in international forums – a pattern Bolsonaro said he will change.
Netanyahu flew to Brazil at the end of December to take part in the inauguration of the right-wing president. Following his visit, Netanyahu said that Israel has “a new ally” in Brazil under Bolsonaro. He said that Bolsonaro made clear when they met in Rio de Janeiro that the embassy move was not a question of “if,” but rather “when.”
Bolsonaro said at that meeting, “I want to be more than a friend of Prime Minister Netanyahu, I want to be his brother. I believe that other countries will respect Brazil more when it recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
In embracing Bolsonaro, Netanyahu has steered clear of any reservations regarding the Brazilian president’s controversial positions – opponents accuse him of an authoritarian streak – or disparaging comments he has made in the past about gays, women and minorities.