Netanyahu Mulls Cutting Brazil Visit Short in Light of Israel's Early Elections

Prime minister is expected to meet with Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro to discuss possible move of the country's embassy to Jerusalem

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Netanyahu delivers a statement in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 18, 2018
Netanyahu delivers a statement in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 18, 2018Credit: Ariel Schalit,AP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may cut his five-day visit to Brazil short in light of the Knesset's dissolution and the upcoming elections on April 9. Netanyahu was originally slated to depart on Thursday and return on January 2. If his visit is cut short, however, he will depart on December 28 and return on December 30.

Netanyahu is expected to meet with Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, as well as the country's foreign and defense ministers. If his trip is truncated, Netanyahu will not be attending Bolsonaro's inauguration as was initially planned.

Bolsonaro, a far-right leader in a country with a powerful Christian-evangelist lobby, expressed willingness in the past to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem.

However, several reports lately claimed he is under pressure from the Arab world. Thus, the former military captain may choose to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital without moving the embassy, or recognizing only its western part, as Australia recently did.

According to assessments, Netanyahu is planning to attend the inauguration in order to ensure the embassy is transferred.

Guatemala and the United States are the only two countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized it as Israel's capital. Paraguay had committed to moving its embassy, but later rescinded. The decision led to a fierce diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

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