Jacques Wagner named Brazilian minister of defense

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — Jacques Wagner, the governor of the Brazilian state of Bahia, was named the federal government’s next minister of defense.

President Dilma Rousseff tapped Wagner, 63, and 12 other new cabinet ministers on Tuesday following her re-election in October.

Born in Rio de Janeiro to Jewish immigrants from Poland, Wagner, a former activist with the Zionist Habonim Dror movement, was elected governor in 2007. He had previously served as minister of labor under former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In addition to Wagner, Floriano Pesaro, a leader of Sao Paulo’s Jewish community, was elected to the federal parliament in October. A member of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, Pesaro published a book in September entitled, “My Path with Judaism.”

As an alderman in the Sao Paulo city council, Pesaro was among the initiators of legislation which resulted in the incorporated of International Holocaust Memorial Day as one of the city’s official commemorative dates.

On Dec. 10, leaders of CONIB, the umbrella group of Jewish communities, visited Persaro’s office to congratulate him on his election.