“It is an insult to Israel’s citizens and to Zionist communities around the world,” Jewish Agency official Hagai Merom said Monday after Brazilian president Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva said he would not visit the tomb of Binyamin Zeev Herzl during his first official visit to Israel.
“I hope and believe the president will change his mind… avoiding putting a wreath at Herzl’s grave is the same as refusing to visit the graves of Mustafa Kemal Ata Turk in Turkey or the tomb of Mahatma Ghandi in India.
The visit to Herzl’s grave has been added to the itinerary of visiting foreign officials in honor of the 150th anniversary of Herzl’s birth.
Last week, US Vice President Joe Biden was the first foreign official to visit Herzl’s grave. The tomb of the father of Zionism was part of the itinerary of foreign officials in the past, but in recent years was replaced with a visit to the grave of slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.