Photo Credit: Avi Ohayon / GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receiving highest honor from Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, Dec. 28 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told evangelicals in Brazil at a meeting in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday that, like the meaning of their president’s name in Hebrew, ‘Yair,’ the alliance of “brothers” between the two leaders will bring light to Brazil and Israel. ‘Brother votes for brother’ is an old evangelical election slogan, not only in Brazil, but elsewhere around the world as well.

“You know that President Bolsonaro’s first name in Hebrew is Yair, which is also the name of our son,” Netanyahu said. “But Yair means something in Hebrew: He who brings light. And I think that we have now an opportunity together to bring a lot of light to the people of Brazil and the people of Israel. This is an alliance of brothers.

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“We have no better friends in the world than the Evangelical community, and the Evangelical community has no better friend in the world than the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in his remarks Sunday.

“If you are a Christian in the Middle East, there’s only one place where you are safe. There’s only one place where the Christian community is growing, thriving, prospering. That’s in the State of Israel. Because everywhere else, if you’re a Christian, you have to be very careful, or you have to leave. Not in Israel. You are pour brothers and our sisters and we protect the rights of Christians as we protect the rights of all religions.

“But this isn’t only a matter of justice, and it’s not only a matter of value. It’s a matter of the deepest sympathy in recognizing our common traditions, our common heritage.

“Israel and Jerusalem are one. And Jerusalem, from the time of King David, 300 years before King Hezekiah, was the capital of our people, has remained the capital of our people, and will remain the united, eternal capital of the Jewish people for all time. You don’t need this reminder because you know our history, and you know our common roots.

“Our histories are intertwined, our faith is intertwined, our values are intertwined. And so every time that we dig with a shovel in our land, we find ancient synagogues or ancient churches. And sometimes we don’t even have to dig…

“So I want to invite all of you next year in Jerusalem. I want to invite all of you to come to Israel, next year, it’s only two days away. We shall welcome you with all the love and warmth that we reserve for family. You are part of our family and we are part of yours… I look forward to seeing you in Jerusalem, my brothers and my sisters.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.