Israeli Settler Leader, Former N.Y. Envoy Dani Dayan Joins Gideon Sa'ar's Party

Dayan says he joined Likud renegade Sa'ar 'out of a sense of commitment to a much-needed change of government'

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Dani Dayan at a conference in Jerusalem, February 15, 2016.
Dani Dayan at a conference in Jerusalem, February 15, 2016.Credit: AFP
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Dani Dayan, former Israeli consul general in New York and chairman of the Yesha settlement council in the West Bank, is expected to join Gideon Sa’ar’s party, New Hope, ahead of Israel’s March election.

Dayan said in a statement he is joining the party “at a crucial moment in the country's history, out of a sense of commitment to a much-needed change of government.”

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Sa’ar called Dayan “an asset to Israeli public life,” adding that the former consul general “thoroughly understands the importance of Israeli unity and the unity of the Jewish people as a key component of Israel’s force."

"Dani Dayan’s knowledge of the American society and political system in particularly valuable," Sa'ar added.

Sa'ar broke away from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party in early December. His new party's aims include "encouraging settlement" in the West Bank and "protecting [Israel's] values as the nation-state of the Jewish people, which maintains human rights."

Recent election polls estimate New Hope will be Israel's second-largest party after Likud.

Dayan was appointed the Israeli consul general in New York in March 2016, after Brazil rejected his appointment by Netanyahu to be that country's Israeli ambassador. The objection was over his involvement in promoting the settlement enterprise. He began his term as the consul general in August 2016.

Last week Sa'ar said that after the election, he intends to promote extensive reforms in the justice system, including splitting the powers of the attorney general and a process for a selection of judges that would include public hearings.

“Our justice system needs to be repaired, but not destroyed,” Sa’ar said, adding that unlike Netanyahu, who is facing criminal corruption charges, he opposes legislation tailored to an individual’s situation. Sa’ar said legislation providing immunity to elected officials is “both improper and distracts from what really needs to be done.”

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