TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed erstwhile Likud rival Gilad Erdan as Israel’s ambassador both to the United Nations and to the United States, marking only the second time in Israel’s history one man was tapped for the double role.
The first time occurred in the 1950s with Abba Eban, Israel’s legendary diplomat.
Netanyahu has offered Erdan the U.N. envoy role in the past, but the latter turned it down. When it became clear during the current coalition talks that the prime minister intended to give Erdan’s public affair ministry to either incumbent Justice Minister Amir Ohana or Culture Minister Miri Regev instead, Erdan accepted the appointment.
Erdan will replace the current U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon.
“I’ve known Gilad for many years. I’m familiar with his skill, experience, expertise, and commitment to defend the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.
Erdan is set to take over from the current ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, only after the U.S. elections in November. Dermer has requested to be relieved of his post several times citing family reasons, but carried on because of ongoing political turmoil in Israel.
Erdan said: “I’m proud and excited for the privilege to fight for our truth in the world and to defend Israel against the expected challenges in the coming years.”