Brazil finds more than a friend in Israel
The leaders of the two countries have made headlines recently for their budding friendship. But there’s more than a bromance driving their countries together
The friendly relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, made headlines at the end of 2018. This “budding brotherhood,” as they’ve called it, started when Bolsonaro, then the president-elect, announced plans to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Though he has since revised that promise, relations between the two countries continue to flourish. Netanyahu even attended Bolsonaro’s inauguration January 1, becoming the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit Brazil. More than a bromance, the close ties between the two leaders are a testament to their countries’ foreign policy strategies. issue where Israel’s knowledge and experience will come in handy for Brazil. Israel is a global leader in irrigation technology, including drip watering, desalination and extracting moisture from the air. Innovation in the field has enabled it to overcome arid and desert conditions to sustain agriculture, and that ingenuity could be invaluable for Brazil. The South American country’s semi-arid Northeast region is currently in the throes of a yearslong drought that has hurt local economies and populations that rely on rainfall for their agricultural activities. The Brazilian government historically has taken an ad hoc approach to addressing these problems, for example by trucking in large volumes of water to alleviate droughts. Working with Israel, Brazil could devise a longer-term strategy to mitigate the effects of uneven rainfall and lay the necessary groundwork to keep developing the Northeast. The Brazilian Senate unveiled plans for such an initiative early last year, and the topic will be a priority when Bolsonaro visits Israel, as he is expected to do in the first quarter of this year.