Report: Biden Officials Hope Dermer Becomes Foreign Minister

By Zalman Ahnsaf

View of the entrance to the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — Ron Dermer, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., would be acceptable to the Biden administration as minister of foreign affairs in the incoming government, Axios reported on Monday.

The news comes as something of a surprise, since Dermer had an exceptionally difficult relationship with the Obama administration, and many officials currently in the White House and State Department are former Obama people.

The nadir of Dermer’s tenure as ambassador came after he reportedly orchestrated, together with then-Speaker of the House Republican John Boehner, Netanyahu’s March 2015 speech to Congress behind Obama’s back.

Yet, according to Axios, Biden administration officials, in their capacity as appointments advisory council, say they actually hope Dermer gets the job.

“We’ve had disagreements with Dermer, but we would be pleased to work with him in the next government. We know him well” and he understands “the political and diplomatic sensitivities about the issues that are on the table right now,” one official was quoted as saying.

Secretary of State Tony Blinken, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and U.S. ambassador to Israel Tom Nides all know Dermer from their interactions with him during the Obama administration.

In the weeks leading to the Israeli elections and even more so since Netanyahu’s victory, Nides and Dermer have been in constant contact, according to U.S. sources.

Biden administration have reportedly had a decisive impact on the roster of the incoming government, exercising a veto on right-wing MKs Betzael Smotrich for defense, and objecting to Itamar Ben Gvir in any senior ministerial post.

Dermer is reputed to be a trusted confidante of Netanyahu and a likely candidate for foreign minister, but he might run up against angry opposition from Likud party politicians.

Several Likud MKs warned that, “if Netanyahu appoints Dermer as foreign minister, this will be an audacious appointment which derides the Likud voters, who chose people in the primaries. It is also disrespectful of the Likud MKs, who invested in the primaries,” according to a recent report in Israel Hayom.

They added, “There is no coercion or justification for giving the portfolio to a coalition partner – Netanyahu is trying to force him on us from the outside.”

Dermer did not run in the party primaries.

Potential rivals for the ministry include Likud MKs former minister of justice Amir Ohana and former minister of internal security Yariv Levin.

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