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Archives reveal Israel’s ‘cosy ties’ with Brazil’s military dictatorship

The Israeli and Brazilian flags hang outside the Brazilian Embassy, in Tel Aviv on 28 October 2018 [Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images]
The Israeli and Brazilian flag are seen outside the Brazilian Embassy, in Tel Aviv on 28 October 2018 [Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images]

Israeli Foreign Ministry documents at the Israel State Archives reveal that Israel enjoyed “cosy ties” with Brazil’s military dictatorship, which ruled from 1964 to 1985.

According to the report by +972 Magazine, the year after the coup, in June 1965, Aryeh Eshel, director of Latin American affairs at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, wrote that he hoped “the current regime in Brazil lasts”.

Based on the information available, and not subject to censorship, the report states there were “strong ties” with respect to military relations:

Brazil’s security forces used Israeli Uzi submachine guns, and the [Brazilian] National Truth Commission revealed that intelligence agents from the National Intelligence Service of Brazil (SNI) — who were primarily responsible for torture, oppression, and crimes committed by the regime — received training in Israel.

In addition, “the two countries entered into a nuclear pact for peaceful purposes”; Israeli nuclear scientists went to work in Brazil, “and even Shalhevet Freier, head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, paid a visit to the country in the early 1970s”.

“The first nuclear agreement between Israel and Brazil went into effect on August 10, 1964, just four months after the military coup. Complementary agreements were signed in 1966, 1967, and 1974”.

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Meanwhile, following the 1967 war, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol came up with and examined a plan to foment the “emigration of Arab residents from the disputed territories [i.e. the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip] to Brazil”.

After talks with the Israeli embassy in Brazil, Eshkol wrote on 8 August 1967: “These talks give me reason to believe that with intensive efforts, thousands, if not tens of thousands of Arab families, especially from the Gaza Strip, could emigrate to Brazil.”

Read: Brazil’s far right president to close Palestinian embassy as Israel hails his victory

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