In what is reportedly his first interview with the foreign press since winning the presidential election in Brazil, Bolsonaro told the newspaper Israel Hayom that the American president as a model. “President Trump was also attacked a lot during the campaign – and he is doing a brilliant job in the U.S., so outstanding in fact that there are many things I use as examples for what I’m doing in Brazil,” Bolsonaro said.
One way the Brazilian president elect was following in Trump’s footsteps was in Middle Eastern policy. Bolsonaro told the Israeli newspaper that, “Israel is a sovereign state. If you decide on your capital city, we will act in accordance. When I was asked during the campaign if I’d do it [move the embassy] when I was president, I said yes, and that you’re the ones who decide on the capital of Israel, not other people.”
The interview gave some insight into Bolsonaro’s brand of right-wing authoritarianism, which defines itself in opposition to the media and parliamentary democracy. Bolsonaro sees his legitimacy as rooted in his military experience. “Before I entered politics, I was in the Brazilian army for 17 years, and as far as I know in Israel almost everyone has military experience,” he told the newspaper. He added that in the military, “one experiences nationalism. It shapes your values and principles, gives you responsibility, patriotism, sacrifice and meaning. All of this molds your personality.”