TEL AVIV — In a first, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made history by joining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Western Wall on Monday.
The occasion marked the first time a foreign head of state visited the Western Wall while accompanied by a senior Israeli official.
As per tradition, Bolsonaro placed a note in one of the cracks and afterward the two leaders stood with their hands on the wall in apparent silent prayer. The two also toured the Western Wall tunnels and viewed a virtual reality simulation of the Jewish Temple at the Visitor’s Center.
After landing on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion Airport Sunday, Bolsonaro professed his love for Israel in Hebrew, telling Netanyahu, “Ani ohev et Israel,” or “I love Israel.”
During the welcoming ceremony, 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.