Brazil's Bolsonaro requests court permission to accept Netanyahu's invite to Israel

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro has requested federal authorities return his passport and authorize travel to Israel so he can accept an event invitation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit in May, Bolsonaro’s lawyers said Thursday in a statement.

The attorneys submitted Bolsonaro’s request to the Supreme Court on Monday, the same day The New York Times published security camera footage revealing that the former president spent two nights at Hungary’s embassy in Brasilia. His stay, in February, came just days after Federal Police seized his passport during a raid related to an investigation into whether he and top aides plotted to ignore 2022 election results and stage an uprising to keep the defeated leader in power.

The revelation of his stay sparked widespread speculation he may have been attempting to evade arrest, as agents would not have jurisdiction to enter embassy grounds due to diplomatic conventions restricting access.

Bolsonaro’s lawyers denied that was his intent, saying in a separate statement it was “illogical” to think he was seeking asylum or avoiding authorities. The stay formed part of his political agenda with the Hungarian government, with whom he has “well-known alignment,” the statement said.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Israel’s Netanyahu, both leaders of a global far-right movement, are key international allies of Bolsonaro. By contrast, Netanyahu in particular has had frosty relations with Bolsonaro’s rival and successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Last month, Israel’s foreign minister said Lula would not be welcome in his country until he apologizes for comments he made comparing Israel’s war in Gaza to the Holocaust, accusing him of a “very serious antisemitic attack.” Netanyahu said Lula’s comments “trivialized the Holocaust” and “crossed a red line.”

In his petition to the Supreme Court for authorization to travel to Israel from May 12 to 18, Bolsonaro’s lawyers said the proposed trip wouldn’t jeopardize the ongoing legal processes he faces, as he has scheduled appointments after his planned date of return.

The request didn’t specify which event Bolsonaro aims to attend, but the proposed period coincides with Israel’s Independence Day.

“As is public knowledge, part of political activity involves international relations as well as expanding dialogue with global leaders,” Bolsonaro’s lawyer Fabio Wajngarten said on X, formerly Twitter.

The Supreme Court's press office said it will analyze the request and that there is no deadline for a decision.


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