Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to become the first-ever sitting Israeli leader to visit Brazil when he attends the inauguration of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro later this month. During his five-day trip to Rio and Brazilia, Netanyahu also is expected to meet with heads of local Jewish communities. The Israeli prime minister asserted this week that Bolsonaro is planning to “carry out a revolution in Brazil’s relations with Israel,” including by following through on his campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Jewish state’s capital and move his nation’s embassy to the holy city. “It’s not just another country—even though every country is important—it’s a country with nearly a quarter of a billion people, a superpower,” Netanyahu proclaimed. His comments came after the Arab League warned Bolsonaro that the body would view any initiative to change the status of Jerusalem as a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and thus international law. Notably, Brazil is one of the world’s top exporters of halal meat—which is butchered and prepared in accordance with Islamic law—and therefore is susceptible to a possible economic boycott by Middle East nations. The Israeli government has made South America—and, more broadly, Latin America—the focus of a major diplomatic push, with Netanyahu having become the first sitting premier to visit the region last September, making stops in Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia and Mexico. He is due to depart for Brazil on December 27.
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