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In first phone call, Bennett and Brazil’s Bolsonaro invite each other for visits

Brazilian president congratulates Israeli PM on formation of new government; they agree to continue cooperation ‘to deepen bilateral ties and cooperation in a range of areas’

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on February 9, 2021. (Evaristo Sa/AFP)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on February 9, 2021. (Evaristo Sa/AFP)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke Tuesday with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the first time since taking office last month, with the two extending invites to each other for mutual visits, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.

The statement said Bolsenaro congratulated Bennett on the formation of a new government.

The two leaders discussed bolstering relations between Israel and Brazil “and agreed to deepen bilateral ties and cooperation in a range of areas, especially economic matters and high-tech,” the statement said.

Bennett said he welcomed Brazil’s recent election to the United Nations Security Council due to its “steadfast and enduring support of Israel in the international arena,” according to the PMO.

Bolsnaro invited Bennett to visit Brazil “at the earliest opportunity,” the statement said, adding that the Israeli prime minister had reciprocated the offer by telling the Brazilian leader that he would be pleased to host him at the Brazilian diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, “whose opening was a historic first step.”

In one of his first moves after winning election in 2018, Bolsonaro vowed to follow the lead of his political role model, then-US president Donald Trump, and move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Instead, however, the South American country opened a trade office in the Israeli capital in 2019, in a move characterized as a precursor to opening an embassy in the city.

In this photo from December 28, 2018, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) is welcomed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro at the Copacabana fort in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Leo Correa/Pool/AFP)

An outspoken supporter of Israel, Bolsonaro cultivated close ties with now-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and was seen as one of his key international allies.

Since taking office, Bennett has spoken to a number of major world leaders, including United States President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angel Merkel and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He is expected to travel to the White House later this month.

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