Geopolitics

Many Brazilian Jews feel the election is a choice ‘between the cross and the sword’

Times of Israel

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — When Brazilian soccer legend Neymar recently declared his support for far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s reelection, he was bombarded with messages of both love and hate on social media.

The same thing happened to pop star Anitta — who earlier this year became the first Brazilian to top Spotify’s global chart — when she announced she’s cheering for leftist ex-Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, commonly known as Lula.

While both of those non-Jewish icons didn’t mind riling up their combined quarter of a billion Instagram followers, Brazilian Jewish organizational leaders have taken a completely different approach, hiding their preferences between the country’s two remaining presidential candidates, who are both popular but controversial.

These leaders fear adding more fuel to the fire raging within their 120,000-strong community, which, like most of the rest of the country, is highly polarized in the aftermath of Bolsonaro’s tumultuous first term.

But many Brazilian Jews, a highly-educated group that largely skews middle to upper class, also feel stuck in the middle of the two poles, wanting a stable leader to improve everyday conditions, and who is also strongly pro-Israel.

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