Netanyahu: Brazil on cusp of ‘revolution’ in ties with Israel

Hotovely, Georgia discuss embassy move

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a weekly cabinet meeting, December 16th, 2018 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a weekly cabinet meeting, December 16th, 2018
Brazil is on the cusp of a positive “revolution” in its ties with Israel, including on Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, as his office announced he will be attending the inauguration of president-elect Jair Bolsonaro.
Speaking at the Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said Bolsonaro – dubbed by one progressive newspaper as “the Trump of the tropics” – has said he is going to carry out a “revolution regarding relations with Israel.”
And Brazil is “not just another state,” Netanyahu said of the world’s fifth most populous country.
“Even though all countries are important, this is a country of almost a quarter-billion people,” he said. “A superpower, and they are going to completely change their relations with us, including on Jerusalem.”
At a meeting Monday in the Foreign Ministry with Israeli ambassadors to Latin America, Asia and Africa, Netanyahu said that Bolsonaro will move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem, something the president-elect said both before and after his election in October.
In attending Bolsonaro’s inauguration, Netanyahu will become the first Israeli prime minister to visit that country, and only the second time a serving prime minister will visit Latin America. Netanyahu traveled to Argentina, Colombia and Mexico in 2017. He skipped over Brazil during that trip because at the time it remained – as it had been for years – stridently critical of Israel.
The Arab League is expected to discuss the likely Brazilian recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as Australia’s recent recognition of west Jerusalem, at a special meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on Tuesday. The meeting was initiated by Palestinian foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, to discuss the “grave Israeli escalation against the Palestinian leadership and people.”
In a related development, Israel will open up a dialogue with the new government in Tbilisi about the possibility of Georgia moving its embassy to Jerusalem, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said.
Hotovely, in Georgia representing Israel at the inauguration of new president Salome Zurabishvili, said that she discussed the matter with her.
“In light of our deep and long lasting friendship, we want to see Georgia move its embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital,” she told the new president.
In a statement she put out, Hotovely said it was agreed that a dialogue on this matter would established.
Last December, soon after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Hotovely said 10 countries mere mulling a similar move. In the meantime, this has not materialized, and some countries – such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and most recently Australia – have either moved, or announced their intention of moving secondary diplomatic missions, such as a cultural mission, or trade and defense mission, to the city.
Only Guatemala followed the US and moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Paraguay also made the move, but shortly after rescinded it and moved its embassy back to Tel Aviv.