JERUSALEM (JTA) – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has expressed discomfort with the appointment of a former settler leader as Israel’s ambassador to her country.
Rousseff sent a backchannel message to Israel with her concerns that accepting Dani Dayan will signal “support for the settlement enterprise,” the Hebrew-language news website Ynet reported Sunday.
An official Brazilian refusal to accept the appointment could spark a diplomatic crisis between the two countries, according to Ynet. The rejection of an ambassador is rare.
Late last month, dozens of Brazilian organizations signed a petition calling on Rousseff to reject the appointment, calling it a “violation of the international legitimacy and sovereignty of Brazil.”
Dayan, an Argentina native, served as chairman of the Yesha Council for six years, until 2013.
Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, is the seventh largest economy in the world. Israel is working to develop commercial links with international markets in South America, especially Brazil.
“Latin America is one of the main objectives of the State of Israel in the context of its efforts to develop markets that will contribute to increasing economic growth,” Netanyahu said in a statement in early August announcing the appointment. “I am confident that Dani Dayan will bring to the post his considerable experience and will deepen relations between Israel and Brazil.”
Brazil recognized Palestine in 2010.