Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will leave for Brazil on Thursday, the first visit by an Israeli head of government to the country, where he will attend the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro.
Netanyahu will also meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of the president-elect to be held Jan. 1 in Brasilia, an Israeli official told AFP.
He also plans meetings with the presidents of Chile and Honduras, among other authorities, as well as members of the Jewish community and a pro-Israel Christian group.
Netanyahu will return to Israel on Jan. 2, the same source said.
Bolsonaro said on Tuesday that the alliance with Israel is moving ahead and has announced negotiations for a drought-stricken water desalination project in the northeast.
The Brazil president-elect said he wants to follow in the footsteps of his American colleague, Donald Trump, and transfer the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. This announcement was celebrated by Netanyahu as “historic.”
But with this measure, Bolsonaro is at risk of provoking commercial reprisals from the Arab states, important importers of Brazilian meat.
For the international community, the status of Jerusalem has to be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians, and embassies should not settle in the locality before an agreement is reached.
On the other hand, Netanyahu’s meeting with Pompeo will certainly include discussions about Syria following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw some 2,000 American troops present in the country at war.
Israel is concerned that its main enemy, Iran, will have more maneuver in the neighboring country after the withdrawal of the United States.
Iran supports the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Netanyahu has vowed to prevent Tehran from establishing itself militarily in the border country.
The Israeli prime minister, who also serves as the foreign minister, last year held the first trip of an Israeli prime minister to Latin America, visiting Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.
Its aim has been to expand Israel’s diplomatic reach by exporting technology and defense and trying to persuade more countries to vote in favor of it at the United Nations, where it often receives harsh criticism of the treatment of Palestinians.