'Brazilian president is my friend, my brother'

Netanyahu lauds Jair Bolsonaro's decision to open diplomatic office in Jerusalem, expresses hope Brazil will move full embassy.

David Rosenberg,

Bolsonaro (l), Sara Netanyahu (c), and Binyamin Netanyahu (r)
Bolsonaro (l), Sara Netanyahu (c), and Binyamin Netanyahu (r)
Kobi Gideon/GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met privately at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem Sunday, before holding an expanded meeting with ministers from both countries.

Following the expanded meeting of the Brazilian delegation and Israeli leaders at the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, hosted President Bolsonaro at the Prime Minister’s residence in the capital for dinner.

In a statement during the meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, Netanyahu called Bolsonaro his “brother”, and noted that his son, Yair, shared the Brazilian leader’s first name.

"This is not a speech, but words from the heart. Welcome under our roof, our friend, my brother Jair, Yair, a name that is familiar in our household,” said Netanyahu, who lauded the “amazing new start” given to the Israel-Brazil relationship by Bolsonaro’s election last year.

“I think that you represent great hope for a new start in Brazil. This is abundantly clear from your decision to be here and from your being under our roof, which is an amazing new start in Brazil-Israel relations.”

The Israeli premier also praised the Brazilian leader’s decision to open up a government office – part of the Brazilian mission to Israel – in Jerusalem, which Brazil’s foreign minister earlier on Sunday hinted would be a step towards the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“I welcome your decision to open a trade, technology and innovation office, an official office of the Government of Brazil, in Jerusalem. I hope that this is a first step toward the opening in time of the Brazilian Embassy in Jerusalem.”

Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu hailed the Brazilian delegation’s visit as marking “the dawn of a great era” in relations between the two countries.

“We are at the dawn of a great era in relations between us – Brazil, which is one of the largest major powers in the world, and Israel, which is an ancient country, but a new major technology power. We will always remember the role played by Brazil and its representative, Osvaldo Aranha, who was the President of the UN General Assembly, in the UN partition decision.”

“We are pleased that after years of relations that were a little hesitant, you have decided – we decided together – to open a new era of partnership and cooperation in all areas. Since my visit, the first by a Prime Minister of Israel to Brazil, we have sent a series of experts, of Israeli delegations to Brazil in various fields, and we are due to sign a series of agreements in wake of these contacts, and this is only the beginning.”




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