SÃO PAULO – Four days following his election, Brazil’s President-elect, Jair Bolsonaro confirmed that he will keep his campaign promise to relocate the country’s embassy in Israel from its current location in Tel Aviv 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.
(Paraguay had relocated its embassy to Jerusalem earlier this year but moved it back to Tel Aviv by order of its newly-elected president, Mario Abdo Benítez. Romanian and Czech officials have expressed a desire to follow suit but have been hampered by internal political division over the idea. The parliament of Honduras passed a non-binding resolution in April 2018 to move their embassy but the country has not yet acted on the resolution.)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Bolsonaro on his election and referred to moving the embassy to Jerusalem as an “historic, correct, and exciting step.”
In a related move, Bolsonaro has also promised to close the Palestinian embassy in Brazilia which was opened in 2016. His simple, logical explanation for doing so was, “Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here.”
Rubens Barbosa, former Brazilian Ambassador to the United States raised concerns that the closure of the Palestinian embassy in Brazilia would damage relations with Muslim nations in general and could result in the loss of $6 billion in poultry sales to those countries.
Nonetheless, Brazilian stocks gained 3.9 percent in the four days following the election. The Ibovespa Index of the São Paulo stock exchange closed at a record high on Thursday.
The new President-elect won a runoff election on October 28th on an anti-corruption campaign, earning himself the title of the ‘Tropical Trump’ whose campaign often referred to draining the swamp in Washington politics.
Bolsonaro won the election with 55% of the vote, although polls had indicated that he would have been roundly defeated had leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva run for office. Ironically, he could not run because he is serving a 12-year prison sentence on a corruption conviction. Corruption in Brazil has been described as ‘endemic.’
Much like the immediate aftermath of President Trump’s election, liberals across the country staged widespread protests.
Bolsonaro has said that his first trips outside of Brazil will be to Israel, the United States, and Chile, countries he described as sharing the same worldview.
The Israeli Prime Minister told Bolsonaro that “Our friendship ties will undoubtedly result in mutual agreements that will surely benefit both of our nations and citizens.” Netanyahu is expected to attend the President-elect’s inauguration on January 1, 2019.
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- The Guardian, Brazil president-elect Bolsonaro says he plans to move embassy to Jerusalem
- The Telegraph, Brazil to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, says Jair Bolsonaro
- United with Israel, ‘Brazil Will Transfer Embassy to Jerusalem,’ Declares Newly Elected President
- Arutz Sheva, ‘Brazilian embassy will be moved to Jerusalem’
- By Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons