Netanyahu departs for Brazil for inauguration of new pro-Israel president

The Israeli prime minister will remain in Brazil for the inauguration, despite the recent dissolution of the Knesset and announcement regarding April 9 elections.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

Despite earlier reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to attend the inauguration of pro-Israel Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro.

The Brazilian newspaper O Globo had reported Wednesday that Netanyahu decided to shorten his week long visit to just two days after his coalition announced the dissolution of the Knesset and moved up elections to April 9.

But the prime minister’s staff said Netanyahu will first go to Rio de Janeiro for a meeting with Bolsonaro then travel to Brasilia for the Jan. 1 inauguration.

Other prominent dignitaries scheduled to attend the ceremony include U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

Netanyahu has said he has high expectations for the visit, saying he is extremely pleased with relations between Israel and Brazil. Reports indicate he will also meet with Pompeo in Brazil.

The Israeli leader is set to hold meetings with President-elect Bolsonaro and his ministers of defense, finance and foreign affairs to “begin a new era between Israel and the major power called Brazil.”

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America and has a population over 200 million people. Current trade between Brazil and Israel is around $1.12 billion, with expectations that bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries could flourish under Bolsonaro.

In November, Eduardo Bolsonaro, the 34-year-old Brazilian congressman and son of the President-elect, confirmed that his nation’s embassy in Israel will be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The confirmation was made in a meeting in Washington with Jared Kushner, a senior advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump.