Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended the inauguration of Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, yesterday. Netanyahu was accompanied by his wife, Sara.
Netanyahu was among a host of world leaders present to witness the swearing in of Brazil’s new leader, one who has been labeled “far-right” and who has promised to crack down on crime and corruption, twin maladies that have blighted Brazil’s development.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has landed in Brasilia, Brazil; he was welcomed by an honor guard.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet shortly with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chilean President Sebastian Pińera and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez. pic.twitter.com/wFN10LnMiz
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) January 1, 2019
The 63-year-old former paratrooper and deputy for the past 27 years pledged to uphold the constitution as he embarked on his four-year mandate at the helm of Latin America’s biggest economy.
Despite criticisms of him abroad, Bolsonaro is riding high in approval ratings in Brazil, with many of Brazil’s 210 million citizens no doubt hoping that he can set the South American giant on a different path after decades of economic mismanagement.
Bolsonaro has vowed to challenge leftist governments ruling Venezuela and Cuba, while fostering warm relations with closer ideological allies such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Netanyahu. Bolsonaro is said to have told Israel’s prime minister that it is a case of when, not if, the Brazilian embassy is moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Earlier in the day, Netanyahu met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to discuss recent development in the Middle East, including ongoing security cooperation between the two countries regarding Syria and Iran.
The two also met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, to discuss the possibility of the small Latin American nation – whose population is not much larger than Israel’s at a little more than 9 million people – moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The three discussed not only the opening of a Honduran embassy in Jerusalem but the establishment of an Israeli embassy in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa.
Honduras would follow the example of its near-neighbor, Guatemala, which opened its Jerusalem embassy just two days after the U.S. opened offices in May