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  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends the handover of his new Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva in Brasilia, Brazil January 2, 2018.

    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends the handover of his new Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva in Brasilia, Brazil January 2, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 January 2019

Bolsonaro has dramatically changed Brazil's diplomatic alliances, rejecting the South-South relations the leftist Workers Party pushed from 2003 to 2016.

The national security adviser to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the leader wants to move Brazil's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but that logistical considerations were standing in the way.

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Retired Army General Augusto Heleno, Bolsonaro's top adviser on security, did not elaborate. But the country's powerful agriculture sector is opposed to moving the embassy from Tel Aviv and angering Arab nations that buy billions of dollars worth of Brazilian halal or "permissible" meat each year.

Bolsonaro, an avid fan of Brazil's former dictatorship and U.S. President Donald Trump, has deepened ties with the United States and Israel since he won the election.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Brazil for Bolsonaro's Jan. 1 inauguration, and after the pair met Netanyahu said that Bolsonaro told him that moving the embassy was a matter of "when, not if."

Security adviser Heleno said on Thursday "there is a clear desire that this happens, but there has been no decision on a date." Heleno said he did not think there would be problems with Arab nations who have threatened to boycott Brazilian exports if it moves the embassy to Jerusalem, arguing that Brazilian diplomats would work with Middle Eastern trading partners to ease concerns.

Bolsonaro and some state governors in Brazil are looking to purchase Brazilian drones and lean on the United States and Israel for other technology.

Bolsonaro's administration is made up of neoliberal economists, former military generals, and religious ideologues.

Bolsonaro tweeted on Thursday morning that privatization of 12 Brazilian airports and four ports, without giving further details.

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