(JTA) — Brazilian passports of citizens who were born in Jerusalem will no longer name Israel as the country of birth.
The foreign ministry in Brasilia’s decision to omit Israel from such documents was taken last year, the Brazilian Embassy in Tel Aviv told the Folha de Sao Paulo daily, which published an article on the subject on Thursday — the first Brazilian media attention on the change in policy. Brazilian-Israelis had alerted the newspaper to the change.
An estimated 60 passport holders are affected out of approximately 15,000 Brazilian-Israelis, according to the daily.
The United States, Canada and France also omit Israel from passports for holders born in Jerusalem, stating only the city’s name.
Israel declares Jerusalem as its capital but is frequently criticized internationally for its control of the city, which is not internationally recognized as Israeli territory.
Floriano Passero, a Brazilian-Jewish opposition lawmaker, condemned the decision as “arbitrary” in a statement published Friday, adding that the move “will only reinforce the Brazilian government’s biased views of Israel.”
“Regardless of the path to peace between the two peoples, Jerusalem certainly will remain an inseparable part of Israel and a citizen born in Jerusalem has every right to display their country of birth: Israel,” he wrote.
Brazilian-Israeli relations have deteriorated in recent years, as Brasilia under the ruling Socialist Workers’ Party has condemned what it considered Israeli violations of international law.