With less than three hours remaining in the term of Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced he will be kept on until May 2020.
Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that Israel would have no ambassador to the United Nations to start the year, as Netanyahu had decided to allow Danon’s term to expire at midnight without appointing a successor.
Netanyahu asked Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit twice this week if he could make a senior appointment such as U.N. ambassador, during his interim government, but Mandelblit has not responded.
Neither Netanyahu’s nor Danon’s office has confirmed the reports.
Danon’s term was originally scheduled to end in August, but Netanyahu extended it to the end of 2019.
While the matter remains unresolved, Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Noa Furman will shoulder the ambassadorial duties. It’s not the only important diplomatic post which is currently vacant. At the moment, Israel has no ambassadors serving in Russia, Canada or Egypt, either.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) are reportedly candidates for the job. Erdan said on Tuesday he’s not interested, but Akunis has yet to say.
However, Netanyahu is expected to fill three ministerial posts on Wednesday—welfare, agriculture and diaspora affairs. As these are considered to be minor portfolios, the temporary status of his government is not seen as an impediment.
Based on past coalition agreements, one portfolio will go to a Shas MK, the other two will go to Likud MKs.
Updated Tuesday, December 31, 2019 at 4:50 pm change of plans