Diplomacy

Brazil’s President-Elect Blasts Critics of Israel as Netanyahu Visits

Ahead of the start of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit Friday to Brazil, President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro blasted critics of his outreach to Israel, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

Addressing Netanyahu’s visit, Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter, “There is no reason to criticize dialogue, especially when the criticism comes from those who did nothing, only destroyed and stole from the country.”

The tweet said that Brazil stood to benefit from ties to Israel because it was a leader in a number of technologies.

The incoming Brazilian president also characterized his meeting with Netanyahu as an “unprecedented moment in our history.”

Netanyahu, before boarding his flight to Brazil, expressed similar optimism about meeting Bolsonaro.

“I will meet with President-elect Bolsonaro and with his ministers of defense, finance and foreign affairs. We will discuss Israel’s ties with the largest country in Latin America, the fifth most populous country in the world. Brazil is a huge country with huge potential for the State of Israel, economically, diplomatically and vis-à-vis security,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “It is a great change that [President-elect] Bolsonaro has declared and I am pleased that we can begin a new era between Israel and the major power called Brazil.”

Shortly after his election, Bolsonaro reaffirmed his commitment to relocate Brazil’s embassy to Jerusalem.

“As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that,” Bolsonaro wrote at the time on Twitter.

Netanyahu, who will be attending Bolsonaro’s inauguration next week, is slated to meet with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while in Brazil.

[Photo: Paul Hirschson / Twitter ]