Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, will stay on in Washington for at least another year, despite reports that the Civil Service Commission denied the request.
“We will extend Ron Dermer’s term as ambassador to Washington at least a year,” PM Netyanyahu said, adding “and he is an excellent ambassador.”
Netanyahu had asked the Civil Service to extend Dermer’s term beyond September 30, but the request was denied, according to Channel 12. Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz reportedly also weighed in on Dermer’s behalf, but the CSC wasn’t listening to him either.
It should be noted that Dermer has made a tremendous contribution to the State of Israel and to its national security, and this fact must take precedence over any other consideration, the PMO said.
Dermer has served as Israel’s ambassador for six years, is regarded as a close confidant and adviser to Netanyahu, and has been a key intermediary with the Trump administration.
Dermer’s ambassadorship began shortly after former president Barack Obama began his second term in 2013 and was marked by controversy.
Notably, he was, like Netanyahu, an outspoken opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, and earned Obama’s undying enmity by arranging a Republican party invitation to address Congress, in which the prime minister attacked the accord.
Earlier on Sunday, Blue and White’s No. 2 Yair Lapid cast his vote against Dermer. “I strongly oppose the extension of Ron Dermer’s appointment as the Ambassador to the United States by a transitional government.”
“Dermer is not really an ambassador, he is Netanyahu’s political emissary,” Lapid said. He added that if Blue and White wins the elections and forms a government, “we will want another ambassador in Washington.”
Netanyahu’s spokesman Jonathan Urich tweeted in response, accusing him of “playing petty politics on the back of a professional public servant who is the best Israeli ambassador we have ever had in the United States and has very close relations with the American administration that brought Israel proven achievements.”