Israel, Brazil in Dispute Over Ambassador

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel and Brazil are on the brink of a diplomatic rift over an ambassadorial appointment which Brasilia has so far refused to accept.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Israeli media on Sunday that Yerushalayim will not replace the ambassador-designate Dani Dayan, a former leader from Yehudah and Shomron, to placate Brazil.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Dayan’s appointment back in August, but bowing to pressure from Palestinians and the left, Brazil has refused to receive him as ambassador due to his political background. Hotovely explained that domestic politics is a key factor in Brazil’s stance. President Dilma Rousseff is currently in a vulnerable position as she faces impeachment proceedings and needs the support of the left in her struggle to remain in power.

There has never been a case where an Israeli ambassadorial appointment has not been accepted by a host country because of his politics, and the Foreign Ministry is not planning to back down on this one, Hotovely said.

On the contrary, Israel has now brought the issue out from behind the scenes and is readying a public campaign in Brazil to have Dayan accepted.

The message for Brazil is, she said, to “approve him, because if not, we are talking about a crisis in relations between the two countries, and it is not worth going there.”

On Motzoei Shabbos, Dayan broke silence on the matter, telling reporters in Israel that it was not just about Brazil, but a “classic BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) issue that BDS activists in Israel, among the Palestinians and Brazil have pounced upon.”

Dayan said that it concerned not only his appointment, but whether any resident of Yehudah and Shomron would ever in the future be able to be serve as an ambassador for Israel. Dayan resides in Maaleh Adumim.

“I think that just as Israel reacted sharply about labeling products, it has to react to labeling people. Labeling people is worse than labeling goods,” Dayan said.