Israel Prime Minister Cancels Trip To Attend Bolsonaro's Inauguration

Considered the inauguration's most preeminent attendee, Netanyahu is facing a political crisis in his home country

Igor Gielow
São Paulo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will no longer attend Jair Bolsonaro's inauguration, scheduled for January 1st. He would have been the most notable important foreign politician to be part of the event.

Sources told Folha that Netanyahu will fly to Rio de Janeiro on Friday (28th) and meet Bolsonaro, but will go back to Israel on Sunday (30th).

Political turbulence in Israel caused the change of plans.

Under the pressure of ultraorthodox members of his political coalition, who were displeased with the plan to make military service mandatory to ultraorthodox Israelis, and facing corruption accusations as well, Netanyahu moved his country's parliamentary elections from November to April.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a ceremony whereby Amir Yaron is sworn in as Bank of Israel governor, in Jerusalem December 24, 2018. - REUTERS

As the incumbent, he is the favorite candidate in the next elections, but the political negotiations would need to start as soon as possible. It's possible that even the trip, even in its shortened version, might not happen at all.

For Bolsonaro, it's a considerable setback. Brazilian presidential inaugurations tend to have few international attendees due to its traditional date, always January 1st.

US president Donald Trump, Bolsonaro's political idol, will send only State Secretary Mike Pompeo - not even Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to attend.

European countries are not showing much goodwill towards the president-elect, not only for his record of controversial remarks but also for his declared disposition to leave the Paris climate agreement and the United Nations' Global Compact for Migration.

Bolsonaro had all his cards on Netanyahu, after establishing an unprecedented rapprochement with Israel.

During his campaign, he promised to move Brazil's embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel, as Trump did. It did not sit well with Muslim countries, who started to suggest they might boycott Brazilian halal meat.

Brazil is one of the largest producers of halal meat in the world: 45% of the poultry and 40% of the beef set to be exported out of the country are certified as such.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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