Brazil: Israel will have to find another envoy

Brazil is not planning to approve the appointment of Dani Dayan as Israel’s Ambassdor, says senior official.

Nitsan Keidar,

Dani Dayan
Dani Dayan
Nissim Lev

Brazil is not planning to cave in to pressure from Israel and approve the appointment of Dani Dayan as Israel’s Ambassdor to Brasilia, Reuters reported Sunday.

Brazilian government officials declined to comment on whether Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff will accept the nomination of the Argentine-born Dayan, but one senior Foreign Ministry official told the news agency, "I do not see that happening."

The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said Israel would have to choose a different envoy because the choice of Dayan has further worsened relations that turned sour in 2010 when Brazil decided to recognize Palestinian statehood in the Judea, Samaria, eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza.

Dayan’s appointment as Ambassador in Brazil was approved in Israel more than two months ago, but has been continuously ignored by Brasilia.

Immediately after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced his intentions to appoint the former Yesha Council chairman to the post last August, opposition from the left surfaced. 

Three former Israeli ambassadors even approached the government of Brazil, through the Brazilian ambassadors in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, demanding that Brasilia reject Dayan's appointment. 

The comments from the Brazilian official came hours after an emergency meeting on the subject of Dayan’s appointment, initiated by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

During the meeting, a series of measures aimed at increasing the pressure on Brazil to approve the appointment were decided upon. It should be noted that this is not an attempt to harm relations with Brazil but simply to push Dayan's appointment so it is approved.

Among the measures upon which it was decided: the Brazilian ambassador will be summoned for a clarification on the subject, the use of Israeli representatives with extensive contacts in Brazil, and a massive mobilization of the local Jewish community in Brazil.

Jerusalem, for the moment, is not willing at all to consider the possibility they will have to cancel Dayan’s appointment. A senior Israeli diplomatic official told Arutz Sheva on Sunday evening, "This is not the only incident. Brazil delays, because of internal political disputes, appointments of other ambassadors as well. We think it is important to clarify that Dayan is the only candidate and they should approve him."

Reuters noted that Rousseff's predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, angered Israel by drawing Brazil closer to Iran.

Tensions rose last year when an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman called Brazil a "diplomatic dwarf" after Brasilia recalled its ambassador from Israel to protest a military offensive in Gaza.

President Reuven Rivlin later apologized to Roussef, saying the spokesman’s comments "do not correspond to the sentiments of the population" of Israel.