Attached photo credit: Avi Ohayon (GPO)
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, and Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro yesterday afternoon (Friday, 28 December 2018; Brazil time), attended a Jewish community event at the Kehillat Yaakov synagogue in Rio de Janeiro.
Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Netanyahu's remarks:
"I am very moved and at this historic occasion I must ask you: [in Portuguese] Is everything OK? Everything is OK! [end Portuguese].
This is a moving occasion because it is truly an historic occasion. I told President Bolsonaro that it is inconceivable that we needed to wait over 70 years for a Prime minister of Israel to visit Brazil.
President Bolsonaro said that this is not just a friendship or an alliance of interests but also an alliance of brothers. There is much in this because we are facing a new world in which people can achieve amazing things. 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.
Today I would like to tell you, with the perspective of thousands of years, that we are experiencing here at this moment, our people, the Jewish people, a breaking of the rules of history. Many peoples were exiled from their lands; they all disappeared, found new lands or were absorbed into other peoples. The Jewish people are the only one that refused to find a new land, or be absorbed. We remained faithful to our land and for thousands of years we said 'Next Year in Jerusalem.' We did not lose hope even through pogroms, the expulsion from Spain, the expulsion from Portugal and pogroms in Europe, and not even during the awful pogroms under the Nazis. We always said 'Next Year in Jerusalem.'
Jewish communities around the world, who supported their brothers, shared in this hope. This included the Jewish community in Brazil the roots of which go back to the Portuguese migration here and afterwards, after the expulsion from Spain. They came and were welcomed here in the new world, but supported the dream of the return to Zion. Be proud of Brazil, love Brazil and want to see the return to Zion – 'Next Year in Jerusalem.'
We have returned to Jerusalem and – like in the Biblical prophecies – we rebuilt Zion. We overcame many enemies. We gathered in our exiles and we rebuilt our land. We built a strong military, among the strongest in the world. We built an economy that is among the strongest in the world. We built industry, science, culture and now we are building with our friends around the world. 'For Israel is not widowed.'
We now have a new friend who knows the hardships of history, the sources of our mutual culture and the great challenges that face us in ensuring the future. Therefore, at this occasion, the first visit by a Prime Minister of Israel to Brazil, I am honored to tell you that very soon we will host the President of Brazil, a friend of Israel, Jair Bolsonaro, in Jerusalem. Next year in our rebuilt and united Jerusalem."
Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Netanyahu's remarks at the Sabbath eve service in Rio de Janeiro:
"We are on a historic visit. There is a cumulative, breakthrough change, from the situation in which Israel was a small country, inward looking, fighting for its existence against boycotts and isolation.
This is a fundamental thing that we have been working on, and which I am leading, very methodically and orderly, for over 20 years. We are taking the genius latent in our people and translating it into strength of our state.
Bolsonaro said in the synagogue today: 'I come to learn from you what you are doing.' They have so little and do so much. We have so much, and have done so little. Countries look on us with admiration, there is no other word, in all fields.
I remember that the gap between us and Brazil was so great and today it is not. It is great in the sense that, as President Bolsonaro said: 'I want to close the gap, also by you. Not just, but to close the gap with an alliance.' I think that this is a certificate of honor for the State of Israel and it says very much."