Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said if Brazil won’t approve former settler leader Dani Dayan as its ambassador, Israel won’t offer another diplomat.February 11, 2016 update: As reported by The Times of Israel, February 7, 2016:
Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Netanyahu’s comments Wednesday.
According to i24news, Israel not having an ambassador in Brazil would represent a “de facto downgrade in relations” between the two countries.
Netanyahu’s apparent decision to stand by Dayan comes a week after various reports that Israel would withdraw Dayan’s name and instead give him the Israeli consulate general position in Los Angeles or New York.
Earlier this week, a group of 40 retired Brazilian diplomats signed a statement against the appointment of Dayan, complaining that Israel had bypassed protocol because there was no prior communication with the Brazilian Foreign Ministry or any presentation of his credentials for an agreement.
Netanyahu tapped the former head of the settlers’ Yesha Council four months ago to serve as envoy to Latin America’s largest nation, but the Brazilian government remained silent on the choice to signal an official rejection of Dayan’s credentials because of his settler past.
A native of Argentina, Dayan, 59, currently lives in the West Bank settlement of Maale Shomron.
Rebuffed for months by Brasilia, former settler leader Dani Dayan will not become Israel’s ambassador to Brazil, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) finally acknowledged on Sunday, during a committee discussion on Brazil’s refusal to accept Dayan’s credentials.
“We needn’t delude ourselves, Dani Dayan will not be the ambassador to Brazil. We condemn Brazil’s behavior,” said Hanegbi, a close aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding that Dayan would instead doubtless be made ambassador in a country “just as important.”
During the committee session, Likud MK Anat Berko said that Israel must be careful that the Dayan affair does not set a precedent for other countries wishing to dictate to Israel which diplomats represent it.
The Latin America director at the Foreign Ministry, Moti Efraim, was present at the committee session and said that the Foreign Ministry has been waiting for a response from Brasilia for six months, “an answer we have yet to receive, even though this is an unprecedented situation,” Maariv reported
Netanyahu, who also serves as foreign minister, has been trying for months to get Brazil to agree to accept Dayan’s credentials, to no avail, but has chosen not to cancel the appointment.
As first reported by The Times of Israel in early December, Brasilia indicated that it would not accept Dayan’s appointment because he previously headed the Yesha Council, a committee representing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and because of the unorthodox way in which his appointment was announced.
Dayan was named as envoy in August, 2015 and endorsed by the Israeli cabinet in September, but Brazil has maintained a frosty silence on the appointment rather than issuing the customary confirmation.
Netanyahu named Dayan only one year after the current envoy, Reda Mansour, took up his post in Brasilia. According to diplomatic sources in Jerusalem, Mansour’s wife did not want to move to Brasilia, and he therefore informed Jerusalem that he wanted to quit. As soon as Netanyahu heard that Mansour was planning to vacate the post in December, he publicly nominated Dayan without first informing the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.