Brazil approves new Israeli ambassador after blocking settlement leader
The Brazilian government approves PM Netanyahu's confidant Yossi Shelly for position of Israeli ambassador to Brazil, after protesting the nomination of settlement leader Dani Dayan for a year and a half, during which time Israel has had no ambassador to Brazil.
A diplomatic crisis that has gone on for a year and a half came to an end on Tuesday, as the Brazilian government approved the nomination of Yossi Shelly to the position of Israeli ambassador to Israel. Shelly is considered to be close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Brazil is the largest country in South America, has the seventh largest economy in the world and is home to a vibrant Jewish community. Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement following Shelly's nomination, saying that it marks a new chapter in the two countries' relationship, and that the nomination is sure to strengthen their ties in the fields of trade and commerce.
Israel has not had an ambassador to Brazil since the summer of 2015, when Brazil refused to approve Dani Dayan's nomination to the position due to his being a leader of the settlement movement. Israel's refusal to offer another nominee created an unprecedented situation where there was no Israeli ambassador to Brazil during the Olympic Games in Rio.
Following the impeachment of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, Netanyahu recongnized an opportunity to end the diplomatic crisis and turn over a new leaf. After already setting Dayan up in New York as Consul General of Israel in March 2016, Netanyahu submitted Shelly as Israel's choice for ambassador. Shelly has no previous experience in diplomacy or Israeli public relations. He has, however, been indicted by the Jerusalem District Prosecutor for allegedly submitting false depositions to the public service appointment committee, in addition to lying under oath. Shelly signed a plea bargain on the case, which prohibitted him from serving in any public office for three years.
Leaders of the local Jewish community in Brazil expressed their disappointment that after a severe crisis between the two countries, Israel has decided to send a political wheeler-dealer instead of an experienced diplomat who would have helped rehabilitate the countries' ties.