Brazil’s president-elect Jair Bolsonaro confirmed on Twitter Thursday that he intends to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter. “Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that.”
Bolsonaro’s public statement confirmed his comments to Hebrew newspaper Israel Hayom on Thursday. “When I was asked during the campaign if I’d do it when I became president, I said, ‘Yes, the one who decides on the capital of Israel is you, not other nations,'” he told the paper, which is a firm backer of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu enthusiastically welcomed the announcement on Thursday, saying in a statement, “I congratulate my friend, the president-elect of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, for his intention to move the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem. This is a historic, correct and moving step.”
Israel considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, with much of the international community viewing the status of the city as a subject for negotiations between the sides.
The embassy move squarely aligns Bolsonaro with US President Donald Trump, and bolsters his image as a “Tropical Trump.”
Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.
In December, US President Donald Trump reversed longstanding policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, prompting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to boycott his administration.
The embassy was officially transferred on May 14, with Guatemala and Paraguay following suit, though the latter announced last month it was returning its embassy to Tel Aviv.
Bolsonaro, 63, who won a runoff election on Sunday, has outraged many with his overtly misogynistic, homophobic, and racist rhetoric.
Following his victory, Netanyahu told Bolsonaro he was certain his election “will lead to a great friendship between our peoples and the tightening of links between Brazil and Israel.”
An official in Netanyahu’s office told AFP the premier was “very likely” to attend Bolsonaro’s inauguration ceremony in January.
Bolsonaro’s first foreign trips as president will be to Israel, the United States and Chile — countries that “share our worldview,” according to the president-elect’s future for chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni.