The Israeli ambassador to Brazil caused a stir on Sunday when he posted a picture taken at a dinner with Brazilian president, which had plates with what appear to be lobsters sloppily blurred with black paint.
Yossi Sheli who was dining with President Jair Bolsonaro appears to have wanted to omit the fact that he was eating the marine crustaceans, considered non-kosher since the Torah prohibits eating all shellfish.
Sheli, a Netanyahu appointee, is a close friend of Bolsonaro - an avid supporter of Israel who in the past promised to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem - and is occasionally invited by the president to dinners and soccer matches.
On Sunday evening, Bolsonaro invited Sheli to lunch at a seafood restaurant in the capital of Brasília before the two made their way to the Maracana stadium to watch Copa América Final.
The ambassador later published a Twitter post - expressing his support for the Brazilian team - accompanied by a picture from the dinner, prompting many social media users to wonder why the plates in the image looked as though they’d been drawn on with a black sharpie.
“Hide the lobster," wrote one Twitter user. “For some reason they don’t want you to see lobsters on their plates," said another user. One user then proposed a theory, saying while the ambassador doesn't want people to see that he eats non-kosher food, the president wanted to avoid people seeing expensive meals on his table.
Netanyahu’s decision to nominate Sheli for the position nearly three years ago raised quite a few eyebrows.
Sheli, a former businessman who was previously barred from public office for three years after admitting that he had not declared his political affiliation despite being a Likud member at a time when he acted as chairman of the Israel Postal Company’s board of directors and director general of the Be'er Sheva Municipality.
He came under the scrutiny of Jerusalem’s local attorney’s office in 2008, which issued an indictment alleging that he had presented false affidavits to the Public Services Authority. He was found guilty in June of perjury and fraud.
In 2012, Sheli signed a plea bargain in which he admitted to the charge of breach of statutory duty without permission. According to the deal, he was forbidden from serving the state until June 2015.