RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The mayor of Rio de Janeiro received the highest honor granted by the local Jewish community for his support of Jewish issues in Brazil’s second-largest city.
Marcelo Crivella received the Friend of the Rio de Janiero State Jewish Federation, or FIERJ medal, at the mayor’s official office on Wednesday.
A fervently pro-Israel evangelical Christian clergyman, Crivella has supported various Jewish projects in Rio, including the current construction of a Holocaust memorial. The city provided the land and Crivella laid the cornerstone.
“Our city is enlarged, ennobled and dignified with the Jewish presence to this palace, remembering its principles, its values. We owe you a lot,” Crivella said.
Several Jewish leaders and government officials attended the ceremony.
“There was never such a friend of Israel and the Jewish community in City Hall,” Israel’s Rio-based honorary consul, Osias Wurman, told JTA.
Crivella reportedly has visited Israel 40 times.
Last month, Rio’s first lady, Sylvia Crivella, represented the mayor at the dedication of a square named for the Lubavitcher rebbe located in a heavily Jewish neighborhood.