In a rarity for the Jewish state, current Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan will serve as Israel’s ambassador to both the United States and the United Nations.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed current Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan to dual ambassadorship roles. Erdan will serve as Israel’s ambassador to both the United States and the United Nations.
Erdan was previously offered ambassadorship roles several times during his political career, but declined the opportunities. Last week, he spoke with Makor Rishon about his decision to accept the positions now.
“A few things happened which caused me to change my mind,” said Erdan. “First, anyone who’s pursuing a political career knows that a government can collapse and they can be out of action for many years. Now, with the establishment of the unity government, which I hope will last at least three years, I have time to concentrate on diplomacy.”
“The Prime Minister offered me not just the UN ambassador position, but added the honor of representing Israel to the U.S. government,” said Erdan to Makor Rishon. “I can use my experience in previous political work, making contacts and maintaining good relations, whether in Congress and the Senate or in the administration. The combination of both roles spoke to me very much.”
“Lastly, I have served as Minister of Public Security for the last five years, a very intense and important position in the government. Today, I have an opportunity in something I haven’t had a chance to pursue, and that’s the public arena. This is why I accepted the dual ambassadorship positions.”
Erdan and his family are set to depart for the U.S. next month. He will first replace Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, in New York. After six months, Erdan will take over for Ron Dermer, the current Israeli ambassador to the U.S., in Washington D.C.
At first, Erdan said, his wife Shlomit expressed concern about moving with their four children to New York while the city recovers from the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s not a simple decision,” Erdan told Makor Rishon, “but considering the importance of the mission to protect Israel, we are prepared to take the risk.”
President Trump has adopted a policy minimizing U.S. presence in the UN in favor of a more isolationist approach to diplomacy, but Erdan said he doesn’t plan to follow Trump’s lead. “When the UN abuses its power to make crazy claims – like denying Jewish history in Jerusalem – they must receive a very firm response from us.”
“We are a strong, moral, and just state, and we have nothing to be ashamed of. Many countries can learn from us, and any battle waged against Israel must come at a significant cost.”
Erdan added, “The ambassadorship positions are the fulfillment of a childhood dream for me. I’ve always wanted to fight for Israel’s reputation and expose the hypocrisy of our critics around the world.”
The only other Israeli to hold dual ambassadorship positions was Abba Eban, who served as the ambassador to the UN and U.S. for nine years in the 1950s.
“I can’t compare myself to Abba Eban,” said Erdan, acknowledging that Eban is widely considered a legendary figure both in Israeli politics and the international diplomatic community. “But in my 11 years in the government, I have run two Ministries simultaneously, and not to sing my own praises, I am known as a man who works very long hours and is devoted to his work.”
Erdan’s dual ambassadorship is expected to last one year, as his appointment as U.S. ambassador will likely come to an end when the Netanyahu-Gantz leadership rotation takes place.