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Top Brazilian officials oppose relocating embassy to Jerusalem

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (C) greets Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) in Brasilia on 1 January 2019 [NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images]
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (C) greets Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) in Brasilia on 1 January 2019 [NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images]

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is set to visit Israel at the end of the month, but senior officials remain opposed to his promise of relocating the country’s embassy to Jerusalem, reported Reuters.

According to reports, the move is “opposed by military officers in his cabinet”.

An unnamed Brazilian government official told Reuters yesterday “that no decision has been taken on the embassy move”.

“Something will have to be said about the embassy during the trip,” said the official, adding that a formal announcement might not be made during the 31 March to 2 April visit.

During his visit to Brasilia for the presidential inauguration in January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Bolsonaro had told him the relocation of Brazil’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a matter of “when not if”.

READ: Brazil’s Bolsonaro to visit Israel with embassy move still undecided

In February, however, Vice President Hamilton Mourao “told Reuters that Bolsonaro’s plan to move the embassy was a bad idea because it would hurt Brazilian exports to Arab nations, including an estimated $5 billion in halal food sales.”

Bolsonaro thus appears torn between placating his supporters amongst right-wing evangelical churches – who back the embassy relocation – and Brazilian exporters, “who fear losing access to major Arab markets for halal meats, which comply with Muslim dietary rules”.

US embassy moved to Jerusalem: a time bomb - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

US embassy moved to Jerusalem: a time bomb – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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