RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — The wife of the Israeli ambassador to Chile was excluded from an annual gathering of the wives of diplomats serving in the South American country.
Michal Hayet was the only wife not invited to the event Sunday, which this year was held at the Palestinian Club, a large sports facility and social club located in the elegant neighborhood of Las Condes in the Chilean capital of Santiago.
The Israeli ambassador, Eldad Hayet, called his wife’s exclusion an “absolute breach of diplomatic relations” and accused the nonprofit that organizes the event of backing the boycott campaign against Israel led by the local Palestinian community.
“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 charity for the needy in Chile,” the ambassador said.
The organizers sent an apology. But said they could not change the venue and the charity event would be held as planned, without Michal Hayet. “The participation of diplomatic representatives will be reduced,” they said in recognition of the likely fallout.
Most Western countries’ representatives said they would not attend, reported AJN news service, citing the Israeli embassy. Envoys from the United States, the European Union and Germany expressed their solidarity with Hayet.
“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 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 Foreign Ministry, emphasizing 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, which prohibited any academic interaction with the state or its citizens.
Chile is home to some 15,000 Jews. The country is also believed to host the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world, with more than 300,000 members.