Israel is sending aid to Brazil to fight the devastating fires in the Amazon rainforest that have been raging for over three weeks.
According to a report in the Brazilian publication O Globo, Israel will be sending a firefighting aircraft and flame-retardant materials following a call offering assistance by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday.
Bolsonaro, a right-wing leader who has moved to cut funds to agencies protecting the rainforest, has come under heavy international pressure to act, having initially dismissed the fires and then suggesting environmental activist groups may have started the fires to delegitimize his government.
Finally, on Friday, the Brazilian leader announced that he would send over 40,000 troops to help fight the fires, which can be seen from space, according to satellite images captured by US space agency NASA.
“Many thanks to dozens of heads of state who listened to me and helped us overcome a crisis that only interested those who want to weaken Brazil, ” Bolsonaro tweeted on Sunday.
Israel’s relations with Brazil warmed significantly since Bolsonaro was elected president in 2018. Netanyahu attended Bolsonaro’s inauguration in January, the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit Brazil. Bolsonaro visited Israel in March.
In late January, Israel sent an aid delegation to Brazil after a dam burst at an iron mine in the city of Brumadinho killing dozens of people.