WATCH: Netanyahu Addresses Jewish Community in Brazil; Says Jerusalem Embassy Move Is A Sure Thing


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it is only a matter of when, not if, Brazil moves its embassy to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu made the statement Sunday during a meeting with Jewish community members in Rio de Janeiro.

Netanyahu is in Brazil to attend incoming President Jair Bolsonaro’s Jan. 1 inauguration, the first ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to the largest country in Latin America, and the fifth most populous country in the world.

Netanyahu stopped a few days early in Rio to meet with Bolsonaro as well as members of the local Jewish community, whom he addressed at the Kehillat Yaakov synagogue in Rio de Janeiro. Approximately 120,000 Jews live in Brazil, the 9th biggest in the world.

Sunday’s statement came after Netanyahu and Bolsonaro met on Friday, and after an Israeli government source insisted Saturday that Brazil’s embassy move to Jerusalem was merely “a matter of time.”

Netanyahu arrived in Brazil on Friday, accompanied by his wife Sara and son Yair, and the family is set to stay on through Tuesday.

Following a private meeting Friday in a century-old military fort on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach, the two issued warm words to the media, hailing a nascent “brotherhood” between their countries that will boost economic, military, and technological cooperation.

They then visited the synagogue, where Netanyahu told congregants: “President Bolsonaro said that this is not just a friendship or an alliance of interests [between Brazil and Israel] but also an alliance of brothers… With cooperation and brotherhood it is possible to achieve things that cannot be imagined. We agreed between us on the way to take this cooperation to new heights.”

Bolsonaro announced on Twitter last month that he intends to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem once he is in office. Several Arab states protested the announcement, threatening to boycott Brazilian goods.

So far only two nations have moved their embassy to Jeruselum, the United States and Guatemala.