By refusing to accept Israeli envoy, Brazil risks downgrading ties'

After Brazil continuously delays confirming former settler leader Dani Dayan as ambassador, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely says, "Israel will not accept the phenomenon of rejecting an ambassador for ideological reasons."

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Sunday she plans to summon Brazilian Ambassador to Israel Henrique Sardinha Pinto to discuss his country's ongoing delay in accepting former settler leader Dani Dayan's appointment as Israeli ambassador to Brazil.

Brazil has been delaying approving Dayan's appointment, which was announced four months ago, because he lives in a settlement and has served as the head of the Yesha settler council. Brazil's left-leaning government has supported Palestinian statehood in recent years.

Israel's previous ambassador, Reda Mansour, left Brasilia last week, and Hotovely said Sunday that Brazil risked degrading bilateral relations if Dayan was not allowed to succeed him.

"The State of Israel will leave the level of diplomatic relations with Brazil at the secondary level if the appointment of Dani Dayan is not confirmed," Hotovely told Israel's Channel 10 TV, saying Dayan would remain the sole nominee.

She stressed that "the Foreign Ministry will use all means at its disposal to ensure that Dani Dayan's appointment as ambassador is successful. The State of Israel will not accept the phenomenon of rejecting an ambassador for ideological reasons, and we will use diplomatic means to make this as clear as possible."

Hotovely also said Israel would lobby Brasilia through the Brazilian Jewish community, close associates of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and even direct appeals from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Brazilian government officials declined to comment on whether Rousseff will accept the nomination of Argentine-born Dayan. But one senior Brazilian Foreign Ministry official told Reuters: "I do not see that happening."

Hotovely held a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office to discuss the issue on Sunday. While Netanyahu was not at the meeting, it was attended by Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and senior adviser to Netanyahu Jonathan Schechter.

The situation is currently being handled by the Foreign Ministry alone, and a senior government official said it has not yet been decided whether Netanyahu will get involved.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said ties with Brazil were "good and important," noting Israel's recent opening of a new consulate in Brazil and the business opportunities for Israeli security firms during the coming Olympic Games, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro this August.

Israel has a considerable role in providing avionics technology for Brazil's aerospace and defense industry.