(Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)
Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu congratulated Bolsonaro for his “intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step!”

By: United with Israel Staff

Prime Minister Netanyahu on Thursday thanked Brazilian President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro for his announcement that he intends to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem.

“I congratulate my friend Brazilian President-Elect, Jair Bolsonaro, for his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step!” Netanyahu stated.

Bolsonaro reiterated Thursday that he plans to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, joining the US and Guatemala.

In a tweet Thursday, Bolsonaro said: “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.”

In remarks to the Israel Hayom daily, apparently his first interview as president-elect with a non-Brazilian publication, Bolsonaro said that his campaign promises regarding Israel were not a gimmick.

Considered pro-Israel, Bolsonaro has vowed to move the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and has said he will close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.

Asked about his pledge to consider recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he said that “Israel is a sovereign state, and if you decide on your capital, we will go accordingly.”

He added that “when I was asked during the campaign whether I would [recognize Jerusalem] when I became president, I replied positively, and that the one who decides on the capital of the State of Israel is you, not other nations.”

Netanyahu on Monday spoke by phone with Bolsonaro and congratulated him on his election.

“I am certain that your election will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and the tightening of links between Brazil and Israel. We await your visit to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

A Wave of Embassy Moves

Brazil is the latest country to move towards this crucial and historic step.

In July, Slovakia announced it was on its way to relocating its embassy to Jerusalem

In April, Czech President Milos Zeman said his country would open a consulate and cultural center in Jerusalem. Zeman reiterated his intention to eventually transfer the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital.

In May, the Czech Republic reopened its honorary consulate in Jerusalem, after it had been shuttered since 2016 following the death of the previous honorary consul.

The United States and Guatemala have relocated their embassies to Israel’s capital.

The US in May became the first country to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, following President Donald Trump’s December 2017 recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.