Brazil Opens Trade Office in Jerusalem, Promises Embassy Move in 2020

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Photo by Kobi Gideon on 31 March, 2019

By Arye Green/TPS • 15 December, 2019

Brazil on Sunday officially opened a trade office in Jerusalem, and promised to move its embassy to Israel’s capital in 2020.

The trade office will be operated by the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, known as Apex-Brasil, which operates under the authority of the Foreign Ministry.

At the trade office inauguration, Eduardo Bolsonaro, a top Brazilian politician and the son of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, said the South American country is sure to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem next year.

“I spoke with President Jair Bolsonaro before coming here. He told me that the commitment still stands – he intends to move the embassy to Jerusalem. He will do it. We want to move to Jerusalem not just for Brazil but to set an example for all of Latin America,” he said.

“You have political arguments; you have historical arguments. You have many arguments to recognize that Jerusalem is your capital. So, we are not going to do something extraordinary. We are doing a normal thing — to recognize your capital,” he added.

Bolsonaro also said Brazil plans to designate Hezbollah a terror organization, as part of its effort to fight with Israel against terror.

“Sooner or later, we will designate them a terror organization, especially after what they did in Argentina in 1992 and 1994,” he said, referring to the terror attack Hezbollah committed that killed 114 people.

Eduardo Bolsonaro is currently heading a delegation of members of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee of the Brazilian National Congress’ Chamber of Deputies in their visit to Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the opening ceremony, reiterating that the trade office that opened today was “a part of President Bolsonaro’s commitment to open an embassy in Jerusalem next year.”

“The Apex office can help Brazil and Israel realize the potential of cooperation between us. Israel is the most dynamic, innovative nation in the world… 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 said.

In March, Brazil’s foreign ministry in a statement acknowledged that “Jerusalem has been inseparable from the identity of the Jewish people for over three millennia and has become the political heart of the modern and thriving State of Israel,” and announced the establishment of an “office in Jerusalem for the promotion of trade, investment, technology and innovation to be coordinated by the Foreign Ministry.”

The US was the first country to make the historic move and relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last year. Guatemala followed suit shortly after, and several countries have opened diplomatic and economic missions in the city.

In September, Honduras opened a diplomatic trade office in Jerusalem and recognized the city as Israel’s capital.

Hungary in March opened its new diplomatic trade mission in Jerusalem, a branch of the Hungarian Embassy in Tel Aviv. Slovakia announced its plans to open similar diplomatic offices in the city.

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