Brazil’s Bolsanaro arrives in Israel with large delegation, poised to sign bi-national agreements

Despite the apparent delay in moving Brazil’s Embassy to Jerusalem, Bolisnaro arrived to broaden ties with the Jewish State.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News 

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsanaro arrived in Israel for a four-day visit on Sunday, leading a large delegation symbolizing the close ties between the two countries since he was inaugurated on January 1. In a sign of warming relations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the inauguration and held talks with the new Brazilian leader at the time.

Bolsanaro had pledged that his country’s embassy in Israel would be moved to Jerusalem, though he reportedly is facing pressures from the Arab world and within Brazil against such a move. In 2010, the Brazilian government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recognized a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, despite strong disapproval from the Israeli government. The Palestinians have an embassy in Brasilia.

Bolsanaro’s entourage on the current visit to Israel includes the ministers of foreign affairs, defense, energy, intelligence and strategic affairs, and science, as well as the federal police chief, members of the Senate, and business personalities. Also in the delegation is the president’s son who serves as chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee.

“This is the largest Brazilian delegation that has ever come to Israel and in the coming days, we will sign many agreements between us,” said Netanyahu upon welcoming the president to Israel. “We will visit the Western Wall together, in Jerusalem our eternal capital; we will visit the innovative exhibits, spectacular innovation by pioneering Israeli entrepreneurs.”

The prime minister and Brazilian president will participate in the signing of a series of bilateral agreements in the areas of security, aviation, homeland security, science and technology, and will sign MOUs (memorandums of understanding) on cyber, health and water, according to an Israeli government statement.

On Tuesday, the two leaders will participate in the “Israel-Brazil Innovation Summit,” an economic event between business people and leading companies in Israel and Brazil. The leaders will then visit the aforementioned innovation exhibition.

The Brazilian president’s visit comes amid a heated contest for the coming Israeli election on April 9. In the campaign, Netanyahu has been touting the increasing number of countries establishing or upgrading ties with the Jewish State and countering political challengers who have argued that his right-wing policies have isolated Israel.