Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu congratulated Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro Monday night, a day after Brazilians voted Bolsonaro into office.
According to a statement released Monday night by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu spoke with Bolsonaro over the phone Monday evening, and invited the president-elect to visit Israel.
"I am certain that your election will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and the tightening of links between Brazil and Israel. We await your visit to Israel.”
Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old Rio de Janeiro federal deputy and former army captain who ran on the Social Liberal Party ticket, defeated Workers’ Party candidate and former Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad 55% to 45% in Sunday’s runoff election.
During the campaign, Bolsonaro vowed that if elected, he would move his country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Bolsonaro also suggested he would shutter the Palestinian Authority’s office in Brasilia.
“Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here,” Bolsonaro said.
A source close to Bolsonaro suggested the embassy move was not yet a done-deal, however, according to a report by Kan. The source claimed that Bolsonaro wanted to fulfill his campaign promise, but would first examine the issue in-depth, to see whether it would “promote peace in the Middle East.”