(JTA) – Israel made a “mistake” in naming former settler leader Dani Dayan as its ambassador to Brazil, a Brazilian official said.
“I think it was a misstep by the Israeli government,” Marco Aurelio Garcia, diplomatic adviser to the Brazilian president, told Brazilian public television on Friday, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said publicly that if Brazil won’t accept Dayan as its ambassador, Israel won’t offer another diplomat.
Netanyahu’s apparent decision to stand by Dayan came 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.
Garcia’s statement was the first public comment by a Brazilian government official since Dayan’s name was put forth four months ago. The interview was reported on Wednesday in the Israeli media.
Garcia said Israel violated diplomatic protocol by publicly announcing the appointment before informing the Brazilian government of the choice. He also said the Brazilian government is opposed to the nomination of Dayan because he is a resident of the West Bank and on record as being against a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu tapped the former head of the settlers’ Yesha Council four months ago to serve as envoy to Latin America’s largest nation. 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.
Aurelio Garcia said that Brazil does not want a diplomatic falling out with Israel over the controversy. “There is no arm wrestling with a friendly country like Israel, with which Brazil’s foreign policy has had excellent,” he said
Brazil is home to a 120,000-member Jewish community, the second largest in Latin America, at nearly half the size of Argentina’s. Some 500 Brazilian Jews immigrated to Israel in 2015.