Israel boycotted in Chilean event gathering diplomats’ wives

Marcus Moraes

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The wife of Israeli ambassador to Chile Eldad Hayet was excluded from an annual event gathering wives of all diplomats in service in the South American country.

Michal Hayet was not invited to the annual charity fair held by the non-profit organization that gathers all diplomats’ wives because the venue selected this year to hold the Sunday event was to be held at the Club Palestino, and some club members also were scheduled to attend.

The Club Palestino, or Palestinian Club, is a large sports facility and social club located in the elegant neighborhood of Las Condes, in the Chilean capital of Santiago.

Eldad Hayet protested by saying the case is an “absolute breach of diplomatic relations” and blamed the organizers of backing the boycott campaign against Israel led by the local Palestinian community.

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“If they had invited us we would have been happy to participate. You are generating a politicization of both the organization and the activity, whose objective was the charity for the needy in Chile,” the ambassador said.

Organizers have sent an apology, but reported they could not change the venue, and the charity event was to be held as planned without the presence and participation of the Israeli ambassador’s wife. They added that “the participation of diplomatic representatives will be reduced” and recognized that some may be absent due to the imbroglio.

Most Western countries’ representatives said they would not attend, reported AJN news service, citing the Israeli embassy. Envoys from the United States, European Union and Germany expressed their solidarity with the Israeli ambassador’s wife.

“Our exclusion from a traditional charity event as a result of political motivations is an open contradiction of the practice and rules of the diplomatic corps. The participation in this activity means a direct support for the inadequate politicization of an association that, as established in its regulations, is considered apolitical, independent and without religious characteristics,” the Israeli ambassador wrote in a letter to the diplomatic corps.

The Israeli envoy also intends to raise the issue during his meeting with the Vatican’s ambassador to Chile, who serves as dean of the diplomatic corps. He also reported the case to Chile’s ministry of foreign relations and emphasized the “negative consequences generated by extremist activity of the Palestinian leadership.”

In May, the University of Chile’s Law Faculty Student Union voted to approve a boycott, divestment and sanctions resolution against Israel. The resolution prohibited any academic interaction with the State of Israel or its citizens.

Chile is home to some 15,000 Jews. The country is believed to host the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world with over 300,000 members.

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