Majority of Brazilians pro-Israel says Ayelet Shaked during Brazil visit

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Israeli perceptions that Brazil is anti-Israel misrepresents the nation due to its president, Friends of Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel chairperson and former interior minister Ayelet Shaked said in her assessment of the country after her visit this week, explaining that the Brazilian people she met sought positive relations with Israelis.

“In Israel, we have a distorted picture because of the president [Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva],” Shaked told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “Despite the president being very hostile to Israel, the nation itself is relatively pro-Israel.”

Da Silva caused controversy in February when he compared Israeli military action against Hamas in Gaza to the Nazi extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.

Shaked said that there were many Evangelicals and Catholic Brazilians who had a love for Israel, and that she had met with the next generation of leaders of Brazil, who were extremely pro-Israel.

“There are many politicians that are not hostile, and on the contrary friendly,” said Shaked. 

AYELET SHAKED during her recent visit to Brazil. (credit: Courtesy)

São Paulo congressman Luiz Philippe de Orleans e Bragança met with Shaked and shared a joint message on Instagram on Thursday.

“Brazilian people are in their heart and their soul together with the Israeli people in this fight against terrorism and to bring peace to the situation,” said the Brazilian politician. “Governments should not interfere with this bond that exists between two peoples.”

Shaked said that Orleans e Bragança was an “amazing” person, as were the other leaders she met, including Sao Paulo State Governor Tarcisio Freitas and Goiás Governor Ronaldo Caiado. Shaked described them as “good friends of Israel.”

Shaked journeyed to Brazil to raise charity for the Schneider children’s hospital and “to speak to the Jewish community, to strengthen the connection in Brazil, and to explain to them about Israel.”

In Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro Shaked said she had met with Jewish communities that were “Charming, warm, and Zionist.” Many of those she met belonged to modern orthodox denominations.

In Rio de Janeiro, where Israeli officials hadn’t visited in many years according to Shaked, residents were reportedly excited to receive her. She praised the Bar Ilan school, from which 20 alumni had come and fought in the war against Hamas.

In Sao Paulo Shaked visited the Beit Yaacov school, in a visit organized by StandWithUs. The pro-Israel NGO, and Pin for Peace, were the best Hasbara that the Jewish people had, said Shaked. She met with Pin for Peace founder Natalie, who shared on Instagram on Wednesday how her organization had created the pin as a sign of solidarity against antisemitism.

Shaked said that her impression was that the Jewish communities in Brazil were not afflicted with antisemitism “relative to what is happening in the US, like with the universities,” said Shaked. In São Paulo, after anti-Israel unrest at a university campus, it “took them two days to deal with it. Someone told me here ‘what took the US two weeks took us two days.’”

“The communities are fine, but they are very worried about what is happening in Israel. They asked a lot about how the situation will end, what about the hostages, what about Rafah, and what about the International Criminal Court,” said Shaked.

“We find ourselves in a difficult period, but there have been many difficult times in history, and this will pass and we will overcome,” Shaked said in a message to assure Brazilian Jews.”Their support is very important.”

The Jewish community in Brazil had “amazing people here, a large number of philanthropists,” who donated millions to the children’s hospital, said Shaked. There were Jewish families devoted to many charitable causes in Israel.

Shaked had shown donors the treatment of one of the released child hostages at the medical center, which she said was very moving. She hopes to visit Geneva in the future to secure further funds for the hospital.

The former minister said that she was returning from Brazil “very optimistic” about the future of relations between the two countries.




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