Progressive Jews Concerned With Israel's Association With Bolsonaro's Conservatism

Some Israelis say that many Brazilians idealize their country, which in reality is much more liberal than they realize

Daniela Kresch
Tel Aviv

An Israel flag flutters behind the new Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights, the lawyer and evangelical pastor Damares Alves, during a video that went viral on Thursday (3rd), in which she is heard saying that in "Brazil's new era", "boys wear blue and girls wear pink."

The association between Israel and the Bolsonaro administration's conservatism -- expressed by prime minister Netanyahu's support to the president -- concerns many Jews in Brazil and Israel, who would like to separate politics and government interests from society as a whole.

Screenshot of Minister Damares Alves with the Israel flag behind her - Reproduction

According to specialists and diplomats, the Israel that many Brazilian evangelicals support is not an actual country, but a religious concept connected with the Old Testament. This idealized image of Israel is far from the real State of Israel, a modern country with thousands of start-ups, universities and advanced technologies.

"I saw the video, and it bummed me because here in Israel, boys don't wear blue and girls, pink. They dress as they please," said the former consul for economic affairs in São Paulo Roy Nir-Rosenblatt, who now is the director for Brazil at Tammuz, one of the leading companies in the world for surrogate pregnancies. 

The former consul says he understands the importance of Bolsonaro's support to Israel. But he points out a side effect: "On one side, we need the evangelicals' support all over the world, including the Brazilians. But it's unnerving to see their appropriation of our flag because Israel has nothing to do with these beliefs and this fanatism."

Nir-Rosenblatt says that Israel is very liberal in several topics, like LGBT rights, women's roles in society and abortion, for example. The country has the world's most significant percentage of LGBT families.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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