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Senior Israeli official praises far-right Bolsonaro's Brazil election victory

The far-right former army captain is ardently pro-Israel. [AP]

Date of publication: 29 October, 2018

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The far-right former army captain is ardently pro-Israel and in August vowed to move the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, while closing the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.

The speaker of Israel's parliament on Monday praised Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro after the controversial far-right candidate was elected president.

"Warm greetings to my friend @jairbolsonaro on his election as the president of Brazil," Yuli Edelstein wrote on Twitter, calling him a "true friend of Israel".

"We are waiting for your visit to Israel, and wish you great success!"

Official results gave the controversial president-elect 55.13 percent of the vote in the run-off election, to 44.87 for leftist opponent Fernando Haddad, with 99.99 percent of the ballots counted.

Bolsonaro, 63, will take office on 1 January.

The far-right former army captain is ardently pro-Israel and in August vowed to move the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, while closing the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.

"Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here," he said. "You do not negotiate with terrorists."

Bolsonaro, who has widespread support from Brazil's evangelical Christians, has also said that his first visit as president would be to Israel.

The ultra-conservative president-elect has offended many in Brazil and beyond with his vitriolic rhetoric.

He once told a lawmaker he opposed that she "wasn't worth raping", has said he would rather see his sons die than come out as gay, and commented after visiting one black community that they "do nothing - they're so useless I doubt they can procreate".

Bolsonaro has also called for a "purge" of his political opponents, openly advocates torture, and once referred to Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship as a "glorious period".

Within minutes of his victory being declared, international civil rights groups expressed concerns.

Human Rights Watch called on Brazil's judiciary and other institutions to "resist any attempt to undermine human rights, the rule of law and democracy under Jair Bolsonaro's government."

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