Netanyahu Congratulates Bolsonaro for Brazil Election Win, Invites Him to Israel

Far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro is an Israel supporter and has promised to move Brazil's embassy to Jerusalem

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), react after polls closed, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 28, 2018.
REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on the phone Monday and congratulated him on winning the election.

"I am confident that your election will lead to a great friendship between the two peoples and to the strengthening of ties between Brazil and Israel," Netanyahu told Bolsonaro, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office. "We await your visit to Israel," Netanyahu added.

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Brazil's right-wing presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party (PSL), Jair Bolsonaro votes during runoff elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on October 28, 2018.

Earlier, a senior diplomatic source said that as far as Israel is concerned, "Brazil will now be colored in blue and white," referring to the colors of the Israeli flag.

Far-right politician Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil, the world's fourth-largest democracy, on Monday. The former army captain won garnered 55.7 percent of the vote.

Supporters of far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, celebrate in front of the National Congress in Brasilia, after the former army captain won Brazil's presidential election, October 29, 2018.

In some of his first words to the nation as president-elect, Bolsonaro promised to defend the constitution and unite a bitterly divided populace.

In August, Bolsonaro announced that, if elected, he will close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia in addition to moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Bolsonaro is a strong admirer and supporter of Israel. 

Like other right-leaning leaders who have risen to power around the globe, Bolsonaro built his popularity on a mixture of tough talk and hardline positions. And, like many, he is sure to face stiff pushback from groups concerned that his strong views will lead to policies that threaten democratic institutions.

A supporter of Brazil's new president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, celebrates in front of Bolsonaro's condominium at Barra da Tijuca neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 29, 2018.
REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

Bolsonaro spent much of the campaign exploiting divisions, taking to Twitter to lambaste the rival Workers' Party as unethical and dangerous. In recent weeks, Brazilians were bombarded with WhatsApp messages that condemned Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad, often making outrageous claims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report