Almost every Brazilian diplomat visiting Israel
makes sure to stop by Bror Hayil, the "kibbutz of the Brazilians", which has absorbed many immigrants from the South American country over the years.
On Friday, kibbutz residents were particularly excited to host their most honorable guest so far: Brazil's Minister of External Relations Antonio Patriota.
"This visit is very exciting and important for us," said Bror Hayil resident Ogenia Shkolnik. Ten members of the southern kibbutz were invited to meet with Patriota, who arrived in Israel on a private visit, and Shkolnik said she hoped that the visit would result in some political benefit as well.
Kibbutz welcomes Brazilian FM (Photo: Roee Idan)
"The Brazilian leaders and media are very one-sides when it comes to the Middle East conflict," she explained. "They support the Palestinian side, so it's important that the Brazilian foreign minister visits us, the Brazilian immigrants living in the Gaza vicinity, and get to know our side too.
"We are certain that the people in Brazil don't know what is really happening in Israel, and Patriota's visit is therefore very honorable."
In recent years, besides the impressive economic growth enjoyed by Brazil, its diplomatic power is growing as well and it is attempting to become a world power. The country is already a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
With bereaved father Natan Galkovich (Photo: Roee Idan)
During his visit to the kibbutz, the Brazilian foreign minister received a letter from Bror Hayil resident Natan Galkovich, whose daughter Dana was killed after being hit by a Qassam rocket in 2005.
The letter, written on behalf of 2,000 Brazilian citizens, included a demand that Brazil take a more active role in the attempt to find a solution which would lead to coexistence in the Middle East, without taking a side.
Brazil a rising power (Photo: Roee Idan)
"Brazil is becoming a world power in terms of diplomatic relations," said Gelkovich, "and so we, the Brazilian citizens living abroad, have quite a lot of power to influence what is happening in the world through Brazil, and we hope that together we can solve problems and complexities in the entire world."
The Brazilian foreign minister told the kibbutz members he was glad to see a community preserving Brazil's values and culture.
"I was glad to see here at the kibbutz museums of Brazilian heritage and music, and to discover that the original gavel used by the president of the UN General Assembly in 1948, Brazil's Osvaldo Aranha, who supported the creation of the State of Israel, is here."
Patriota added that "it's nice to see the population which founded its state remain so connected to its homeland."
He concluded his visit by wishing Israel's national soccer team good luck in its World Cup qualifier against Luxemburg. "I would love to see Israel as our guest in the 2014 World Cup," he said.