An Israeli government source insisted Saturday that Brazil's embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was merely "a matter of time", and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro had discussed the matter during their meeting Friday.
It was all about expressing the bonds of "brotherhood" and mutual desires to boost technological, economic, and military cooperation between Brazil and Israel, during Netanyahu's first day in Brazil, having flown in on Friday, ahead of Jair Bolsonaro's inauguration next week.
Netanyahu came for President-elect Jair Bolsonaro's inauguration January 1, but arrived several days early in Rio de Janeiro to meet with the incoming far-right leader and several other top members of the new administration.
The visit by Netanyahu, Israel's first Prime Minister to visit Brazil, follows a November 1 tweet by Bolsonaro stating his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem.
An embassy move could put at risk lucrative Brazilian poultry and halal meat exports to Arab countries, which fiercely oppose any unilateral steps seen as cementing Israel's claim to all of Jerusalem as its capital. "We want more people to partner with Israel, as well as with us". "It is a great change that [President-elect] Bolsonaro has declared and I am pleased that we can begin a new era between Israel and the major power called Brazil".
He plans to meet with Bolsonaro, who was elected in October with an agenda and style so similar to President Trump's that he has been dubbed the Trump of the Tropics. "It's hard to believe that we had no such contacts before", he added.
The tweet said that Brazil stood to benefit from ties to Israel because it was a leader in a number of technologies.
Netanyahu said that his visit to Brazil "heralds a historic moment". "You can be certain I will speak with him about that in our first meeting", Netanyahu, speaking Hebrew, told reporters on his flight before it landed in Rio de Janeiro.
Both Netanyahu and Bolsonaro admire Trump, and are keen to forge closer relations between their countries.
He will also hold talks with the presidents of Chile and Honduras while there, among other officials, and meet with members of the Jewish community and a pro-Israel Christian group.
The two also visited a synagogue among tight security including snipers on nearby roofs, where Netanyahu emphasized his hopes the two countries could operate in a more aligned and friendly manner in the future.
Brazil, he said, "is an vast country with enormous potential for Israel from an economic, security and diplomatic point of view".