TEL AVIV – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro professed his love for Israel in Hebrew as he was greeted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara at Ben-Gurion airport Sunday after landing in the country for a two day visit.
Bolsonaro said in Hebrew, “Ani ohev et Israel,” or “I love Israel” during a welcoming ceremony in his honor.
The Brazilian president may announce his plans to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which was a campaign promise of his. Shortly after his election, he tweeted, “We intend to move the Brazilian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel is a sovereign country and we respect them.”
However, last Thursday he said he may resort to opening a “business office” in Jerusalem during the visit.
Netanyahu praised the Brazilian leader for his “deep faith … in our common heritage” and “strong desire to strengthen ties between Israel and Brazil.”
“My friend Mr. President, we are making history together. When you took up office last January, we opened a new era in Brazil-Israel relations,” he said.
“I was at the moving ceremony in which you were sworn in as president and here, after a mere three months, on your first visit outside South America, you have come to Israel in order to bring relations between us to a new height,” he added.
According to Netanyahu, the two will visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
“Mr. President, you have come to Israel at a tense time. I have ordered that IDF forces remain fully deployed around the Gaza Strip. This includes tanks, artillery, ground forces and air forces. We are prepared for any scenario and — if need be — an extensive campaign. We will do what needs to be done for the security of Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Bolsonaro came with the largest Brazilian delegation to ever visit Israel.
Netanyahu was also accompanied by a large delegation including Acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.