Monday, December 28, 2015

Ex-settler Leader Dani Dayan: Netanyahu Hasn't Pressured Brazil Enough to Accept My Appointment as Ambassador

Barak Ravid,

Dayan tells Haaretz that if government does not act in his case, it could create a precedent barring settlers from representing Israel abroad.

Image from article, with caption: Dani Dayan at El Matan outpost near the Maaleh Shomron settlement, December 2014.

Dayan's identification with the settlement enterprise, together with a severe political crisis in Brazil, led Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to delay approval of the appointment. As more and more time passed, there were growing indications that the delay in approving Dayan's appointment was deliberate. A week ago, the Brazilians leaked word to the Times of Israel website that they were opposing the appointment but hoped that Israel would take the hint on its own.
Dayan found himself in a Catch 22 situation, left hanging. On one hand, his departure for Brazil was being held up, and on the other hand, he was not a Foreign Ministry employee and was not drawing a salary. As part of the ambassadorial appointment process, he had signed a conflict of interest statement barring him from working in a range of fields. From the moment the cabinet approved the appointment, he was also instructed to halt all of his activity in organizations with which he had been involved in a volunteer capacity, including the council of the Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance authority and the Beit Uri Zvi Greenberg cultural center. He was also forced to rein in making public comments. He gave almost no interviews over the five month period and his previously very active Twitter account virtually ground to a halt.
Over this weekend, after considerable deliberation, he decided to break his silence. "I never sexually harassed anyone," he said, in reference to a series of recent sex scandals involving public figures that have surfaced recently. "I haven't taken a garment bag from an airport duty-free shop," a reference to allegations against Jacob Frenkel that scuttled his reappointment as governor of the Bank of Israel, "and I haven't written nonsense on Facebook," apparently referring to controversy over Facebook comments by Ran Baratz who had been tapped as director of national public diplomacy. "If I have to pay a price, at least it's for living in accordance with my beliefs. I sleep very well at night even if it is [in the West Bank settlement of] Ma'aleh Shomron and not at the ambassador's residence in Brasilia."...

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