Brazilian President Luis Lula Da Silva
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Brazilian president: We want a nuclear-weapon free world

Luis Lula Da Silva addresses special Knesset session held in his honor. PM Netanyahu urges Brasilia's support for sanctions against Iran, says 'Tehran worships death, while you celebrate life'

The Knesset held a special session Monday, in honor of Brazilian President Luis Lula Da Silva, who is visiting Israel.


Da Silva's visit comes at a time when Western powers are attempting to formulate harsh sanctions on Iran, following its refusal to suspend its nuclear enrichment program.


"The Middle East has seen decades of painful confrontations which have claimed thousands of lives. We have to act, but using our heads is not enough – we must also use our hearts," he told the plenum.


"Brazil supports Israel's existence as a sovereign state. We cannot waste any more time when we see the (country's) potential. We want Israelis to live in harmony and erase suffering."


Latin America, he added, "has no nuclear weapons. We wish to set an example for other regions."


Prior to Da Silva's speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the Knesset members. Netanyahu urged Brazil to join the international front formed against the Islamic Republic, saying he believes Tehran's values differ from Brasilia's and adding "they practice tyranny and cruelty, while you represent tolerance and openness. They worship death, while you celebrate life."


Addressing the controversial building plans in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that "every Israeli government has built in Jerusalem. Erecting these Jewish neighborhoods has never hurt the residents of east Jerusalem.


"We will keep Jerusalem open to all religions, a city where Jews, Christians and muslin coexist and enjoy freedom of religion and free access to all holy places."


Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni took the podium next: "Iran represents an ideology which negates our existence. This is not your average nation. We are following Iran permeation into Latin America with great concern. Brazil cannot give the Iranian regime the legitimization is seeks."


Brazil is a transient member of the UN Security Council. The country opposes international sanctions on Iran and supports ongoing diplomatic efforts.


Da Silva next stop in his Middle East tour will take him to Tehran, where he will meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 


Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman decided to boycott Da Silva's visit in Israel following the latter's refusal to visit the gravesite of founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, as well as over his ties with Ahmadinejad.


Lieberman was absent from the special Knesset session held in Da Silva's honor.


Roni Sofer contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 03.15.10, 17:20
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