Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who is known for his far-right views, has told an Israeli newspaper that he hopes to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after taking office.
“Israel is a sovereign state. If you decide on your capital city, we will act in accordance,” he told Israel Hayom, a conservative newspaper, in his first foreign media interview since the election last weekend. “When I was asked during the campaign if I’ll do it when I was president, I said yes.”
If Brazil were to move its embassy to Jerusalem, it would be following the policy of the Trump administration, which recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital last year and moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv in May.
Jerusalem is a contested city. Palestinians consider East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the capital of their future independent state; Palestinian officials have refused to engage with their U.S. counterparts since the U.S. Embassy move.
Brazil and Israel have a long diplomatic history dating to the very foundation of the state of Israel, and Brazil has a sizable population of Jews, many of whom descended from refugees from Europe in the mid-20th century.