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Israeli envoy to Brazil tries to ‘censor’ lobster lunch, is ridiculed

Black patches covering plates of Yossi Shelley and President Bolsonaro do little to hide nonkosher crustacean, much to Twitter’s amusement

Israeli ambassador Yossi Shelley (R) and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro eat lunch in Brasilia on July 7, 2019. (Israeli embassy in Brazil)
Israeli ambassador Yossi Shelley (R) and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro eat lunch in Brasilia on July 7, 2019. (Israeli embassy in Brazil)

Israel’s envoy to Brazil was ridiculed on social media this week after the embassy apparently attempted to conceal the fact that he ate lobster with President Jair Bolsonaro by clumsily photoshopping an image of the two men’s meal.

The Israeli mission on Sunday tweeted a picture of Yossi Shelley and Bolsonaro eating lunch before attending a Brazil-Peru soccer game. Their plates were blurred with black marks — an apparent attempt to hide the fact that Shelley was eating a non-kosher meal.

However, the sloppy editing did not fully hide the food, leaving the offending crustaceans plainly visible.

The post garnered thousands of likes and comments ridiculing the embassy for its efforts to “censor” the lobster, mostly from Brazilian Twitter users. Dozens “re-edited” the picture by superimposing other foods onto Shelley and Bolsonaro’s plates, while others pointed out that the embassy could have effectively hidden the lobsters by simply cropping the bottom third of the image.

Shelley declined to comment on the image to the Ynet news site on Monday.

Shelley, a Likud party activist and former businessman, was appointed ambassador to Brazil in January 2017 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

His term there has seen a shift in relations between the two countries, particularly since the election of Bolsonaro earlier this year.

Bolsonaro, a former army chief, has drawn condemnation for his disparaging remarks about gay people, women, indigenous groups and black people during his 28-year career as a Brazilian congressman.

Netanyahu has eagerly embraced the newly elected Bolsonaro, who has found common ground with the Israeli prime minister’s right-wing government. His outspoken support for Israel has also resonated with his evangelical base.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) awards the National Order of the Southern Cross, the country’s highest national honor for high-ranking guests, to Israel’s ambassador in Brasilia Yossi Shelley on May 7, 2019 (Screencapture/YouTube)

In May, Bolsonaro awarded Shelley the National Order of the Southern Cross, Brazil’s highest national honor for high-ranking guests.

Shelley told The Times of Israel at the time that he received the honor for his work in the economic sector over the last two years and for strengthening ties between Israel and Brazil in the fields of water technology, security and diplomacy.

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