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Brazil opens Trade Office in Jerusalem

2019-12-24 - By RAPHAEL AHREN
At the event, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a senior lawmaker and the son of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, reiterated his government’s pledge to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem soon.

“You have political arguments, you have historical arguments. You have a bunch of arguments to recognize that Jerusalem is your capital. So we’re not going to do something extraordinary. We’re doing a normal thing — to recognize your capital,” he said.

Just like the Brazilian government can determine what its country’s capital is, so Israel’s government can decide what city it wants as its capital, he added. “Because we do believe that whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, and whoever curses Israel will be cursed,” he added, paraphrasing a Biblical verse.

Bolsonaro, who chairs the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee of the Brazilian National Congress’ Chamber of Deputies, said he had spoken to his father about moving the embassy.

“He told me that for sure — it’s a commitment — he’s going to move the embassy to Jerusalem,” he said. “If we do not move the embassy to Jerusalem, if the terrorists think that they can threaten us, it will be a shame on us. If you want to avoid a terrorist attack, you have to show power.”

Brazil is currently still studying the implications of transferring its embassy to Jerusalem, Bolsonaro said, stressing that when the relocation happens, it should inspire other Latin American nations to follow suit.

“If we’re doing this move in a smart way, for sure other countries will be comfortable to do the same, and that’s what we expect,” he said, speaking in English.

The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, known as Apex-Brasil, operates under the auspices of the country’s foreign ministry, but does not have diplomatic status. Three people — one Brazilian and two local hires — will work from the new Jerusalem office, located in the city’s Har Hotzvim tech park.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who attended the opening ceremony in central Jerusalem’s David Citadel Hotel, underlined that the trade office that opened this week was “a part of President Bolsonaro’s commitment to open an embassy in Jerusalem next year, as we say, b’ezrat Hashem [God willing].”

“The Apex office can help Brazil and Israel realize the potential of cooperation between us. Israel is perhaps the most dynamic, innovation nation in the world — this is not what I say, but many others are saying it. The markets are saying it,” Netanyahu said.

“Brazil has an unbelievable potential. With its vast size, its diverse population, its universities, the talents of its people. And we think that if we merge the great potentials that our two countries have, we learn from each other unbelievably. And this office, Apex, will actually be the spearhead of this vital development,” he added.