Netanyahu in Pre-Election Diplomatic Blitz

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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro last month. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has a crowded diplomatic calendar in the coming weeks, including three trips abroad and visits from several foreign leaders.

PM Netanyahu is slated to be in Davos, Switzerland, next week for the World Economic Forum. He’ll give a speech and meet with the likes of British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Netanyahu flies to N’Djamena, where he will formally announce the renewal of diplomatic ties with Chad, a Muslim-majority country in north-central Africa. Reportedly, Israel has a specially interest in the impoverished country of 15 million people—flyover rights would enable Israeli airliners to trim several hours en route to Latin America, if it can also obtain flyover rights from Sudan, which is thought less likely.

In late March, Netanyahu is expected to travel to Washington for AIPAC’s annual Policy Conference, where he is a perennial favorite, standing ovations furnishing the ultimate photo-op for the upcoming elections in April.

While in Washington, the prime minister will probably make up for missing President Donald Trump at Davos (Trump cancelled his trip there due to the federal shutdown) with a stop at the White House.

According to Ynet on Sunday, the White House wants to use the opportunity to show “presidential support” for PM Netanyahu’s re-election.

Back in Israel in the next few weeks, he hosts Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and the president of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

Much more important, Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has said that he wants to visit Israel “by March,” according to Netanyahu.