JERUSALEM – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro concluded his four-day trip to Israel on Wednesday without fulfilling his previous pledge to move his country’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.
Bolsonaro instead announced on Sunday during his first state visit to Israel that he would open a trade and innovation office in the Holy City.
A Brazilian official told EFE the flight took off at around 10:00 am from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport, stressing the president had not carried out any official activities earlier in the day.
Bolsonaro had promised during his electoral campaign to make the controversial transfer of his country’s diplomatic legate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to follow in the footsteps of his United States’ counterpart, Donald Trump.
The US moved its embassy to Jerusalem in May last year, enraging Palestinians and key Muslim leaders.
Guatemala and Paraguay followed the US example, but Paraguay later cancelled the move.
On Tuesday, the Brazilian leader made a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, where he lit a torch and laid a wreath during a ceremony commemorating the six million Jews killed by the Nazis.
He also took part in an Israeli-Brazilian trade forum and toured the Israeli Innovation Exhibition alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Bolsonaro, who was accompanied by several ministers and senior officials, signed a number of bilateral agreements on a range of topics, including security, aviation, science and technology, public safety, cybernetics and health.
The South American president also became the first world leader to visit the Western Wall with Netanyahu in East Jerusalem on Monday.
European prime ministers and foreign ministers do not usually visit this enclosure, which has been occupied since the Six-Day War in 1967, during official tours.
Brazil’s decision to include these stops on Bolsonaro’s agenda during his official visit to Israel sparked criticism from the Palestine Liberation Organization, which claims the territory as the capital of its future state.
Bolsonaro’s visit came ahead of Israel’s general elections, scheduled on April 9 and in which Netanyahu is seeking re-election.