JERUSALEM – The relationship between Brazil and Israel has reached a tense point the past few days. After the change of ambassadors, Brazil is refusing to accept the accreditation of new Israeli ambassador Dani Dayan in Brasilia.

The nomination made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was made in early August, but former ambassador Reda Mansour only stepped down from office in December.

Dani Dayan, who was born in Argentina but immigrated to Israel in 1971, is a strong advocate for the Israeli settlements in the West Bank. These settlements are considered a violation to international law by most countries. He has also worked a Chairman of the Yesha Council, position that he resigned in order to endorse Netanyahu’s candidacy for Prime Minister.

There are speculations that Brazil has yet to confirm the new ambassador due to his position regarding the settlements in Judea and Samaria. Some in Brazil are claiming that this is President’s Dilma Rousseff and her party (PT) way of demonstrating support for Palestine and Hamas.

The failure to give diplomatic accreditation to Dany Dayan is stirring up some debate in Brazil, with many using it as a new motive to criticise the current administration. The government so far has refused to give an official stand on the matter or provide any further comment on the situation.

Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotoveli, stated: “There has never been a situation in the history of the State of Israel in which an ambassador was not accepted because of their ideology.” She also added that for the time being Israel is not pursuing other options for ambassador.

The relationship between the countries has suffered strong problems since 2010, when Brazil officially recognised Palestine as a country. Last year, Brazil condemned Israeli’s actions in the Gaza strip, which lead to an escalation of foul diplomatic exchanges between the countries, in which Israel referred to Brazil as a diplomatic dwarf.

Israel is threatening to downgrade diplomatic ties with Brazil if no solution is reached on the matter. It is not likely that an agreement is reached this year and Brazilian government, which in going through a rough time, is not likely to have this matter on high priority on the start of next year.

Julia Baldanza, Correspondent (Asia: Middle East & Central)

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