Ex-settler leader likely out as Israel’s pick for Brazil envoy

(JTA) — Israel is expected to withdraw the name of a former settler leader to be its ambassador to Brazil, ending a four-month diplomatic row.

Dani Dayan will likely assume the Israeli consulate general position in Los Angeles or New York, according to reports in the Israeli and Brazilian media citing senior Israeli officials.

An alternative envoy would receive “fast-track approval,” an unnamed source told the Times of Israel on Tuesday, and the Brazilian government would also publish a statement hailing the longtime friendship with the Jewish state. If his name is not withdrawn, Brasilia reportedly said it would announce an official public rejection of Dayan’s appointment.

Dayan tweeted Monday that “14 MKs labored indefatigably against my appointment in Brazil: 13 Joint Arab List members and one Tzipi Livni,” referring to the former foreign minister and a leader in the Zionist Union camp.

Prime Minister Benjamin 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.

Nearly 4,000 Brazilian Jews and non-Jews signed an online petition in late December in defense of the appointment. However, a leftist Jewish group has been demonizing Dayan on social media.

“I trust the Israeli government,” said Szyja Lorber, who led the petition, “but on behalf of thousands, I find it awful if the name is really withdrawn. A newcomer in Brazil, BDS [the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement] will obviously take advantage and use it as a victory, as will leftist groups and people who hate Israel.”

Israeli envoy Reda Mansour resigned in early December after serving only one year, citing family considerations. A Druze-Israeli, Mansour was widely lauded as a representative to Brazil of Israel’s multiculturalism.

Many in the Brazilian Jewish community of 120,000 say the government of President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Ignacio Lula, has fomented an anti-Israel environment.

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