Israel, Bolsonaro Discuss Sale of Drones With Facial Recognition, Senior Diplomatic Source Says

In the talks, Israel has not limited the use of its drones. In exchange to help with domestic security, Netanyahu hopes Brazil will move its embassy to Jerusalem

Netanyahu and Bolsonaro in Brazil.
Leo Correa/אי־פי

RIO DE JANEIRO - Israeli officials discussed a drone sale with President Jair Bolsonaro, a senior diplomatic source told Israeli journalists accompanying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's delegation in Brazil on Monday.

Answering a question by Haaretz, the source said that in the discussions with Brazil Israel has not limited the use of Israeli drones to be sold to Brazil to any use, including policing and crime-fighting. Brazil's murder rate is 30 times that of Israel's, the source noted.

The source told reporters that some of the drones that were discussed are equipped with facial recognition technology, which is linked in real-time to a big data database and are used to chase suspects. Israel has planned to put the technology into use in January in the area of Route 443, a West Bank road that leads to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu hopes Bolsonaro will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In exchange, Israel is expected to offer information and procurement opportunities to assist Bolsonaro’s flagship project, domestic security.

Bolsonaro’s sons Eduardo and Carlos were photographed during a visit to Israel in 2016 wearing Israeli army and Mossad shirts. On his Twitter account, Eduardo wrote that Israel is “a First-World country that admires its armed forces and police.” The elder Bolsonaro has promised to make Israel one of the first countries he visits as president.

Bolsonaro often speaks nostalgically about Brazil’s former military dictatorship and supports torture. In 1999 he said that it would be impossible to change anything in Brazil just by voting, and that things would change only if civil war broke out and the army intervened. “If a few innocents die, that’s okay,” he added.