Gov’t Approves Appointment of Erdan as Israeli Ambassador to U.N., U.S.

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister Gilad Erdan attends a weekly Cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Yerushalayim, Sunday. (Gali Tibbon/Pool via Reuters)

The government unanimously approved the appointment of Minister Gilad Erdan to the position of Israel Ambassador to the United Nations and the United States, Sunday.

Erdan is replacing Israel’s current ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, who has served in the role since 2015.

Erdan will hold the position for three years.

Erdan will also become Israel’s ambassador to the United States on Jan. 22, 2021, replacing Ron Dermer, who has served in the role since 2013. Erdan will remain in that position for 11 months, during which time he will assume both ambassadorial roles simultaneously.

The short length of the latter tenure is in accordance with the coalition agreement between the Likud and Blue and White, based on Benny Gantz’s becoming prime minister in late 2021. At that time, Gantz will be able to appoint an ambassador to Washington of his own choosing.

The only other Israeli figure to have filled both ambassadorial roles simultaneously was the late diplomat Abba Eban, who served as a dual envoy from 1950 until 1959.

Upon accepting the double appointment in May, Erdan said: “I am proud and excited at the privilege to struggle for our reputation in the international arena and to defend Israel in the challenges ahead in the coming years.”

The government also approved the appointment of MK Ofir Akunis as regional cooperation minister, replacing Erdan.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said “Today, we are taking our leave from Gilad Erdan. Gilad, I want to remind you that we met during my first tenure, in 1996. You came as a young man, you are still a young man, but you have accumulated much experience. I have noted only some of the positions you have held: environmental protection minister, home front minister, communications minister, public security minister – during times of very great challenges of lone terrorist attacks that we had to deal with, the police had to do this. And indeed, under your leadership, it took a series of steps that had not been taken before. Minister for strategic affairs – the organizing against BDS, and of course, as a member of the Security Cabinet in recent years. These are positions that certainly caused you to recognize the global challenges facing the State of Israel.

“More than once, you expressed the willingness and confidence that you could strongly represent the State of Israel both with the necessary vigor and the arguments required in these areas. I think the fact that you acted against BDS gives you the redoubled energy and the redoubled experience for this action. This arena will be challenging. We see what is happening in the international court in The Hague, a biased court that delegitimizes Israel.

“There is no doubt that the U.N. and the U.S. are our most important international arenas. We are sending you there with high expectations and with the knowledge that we will be challenged there. We rely on you that you will do the work there.

“As of now, from the end of this meeting, you will be appointed as Israeli ambassador to the U.N., and as of January 20, 2021, upon the end of the term of Ron Dermer, which will also be extended today by one year, as Israeli ambassador to the U.S.A. The only person to have held both of these positions, many years ago, was Abba Eban and I wish you no less success. Thank you Gilad for your contributions.”