Netanyahu Appoints Likud Minister Gilad Erdan as Israel’s Ambassador to Both U.S., UN

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan will take on the post of Israel's Ambassador to both the United States and the United Nations, as Netanyahu draws up his next government, to be sworn in on Thursday.

Erdan sought to keep his position as public security minister in the new government, but Netanyahu intends to appoint either Justice Minister Amir Ohana or Culture Minister Miri Regev instead. After Erdan realized many Likud lawmakers are vying for relatively few government portfolios in the new government, he decided to accept Netanyahu's proposal rather than take on a ministry he views as less significant.

"I am proud and moved by the privilege of struggling for the justice of our cause in the international arena and defending Israel in the face of the expected challenges in the coming years," Erdan said, according to a post on the official Facebook page of Israel's prime minister.

Erdan, who was fourth on the Likud list in the last election and has been in the Knesset since 2003, will be replacing both Ron Dermer, the current U.S.-born ambassador to the United States, and Danny Danon, permanent representative to the UN since 2015.

Dermer, who has had a prominent role in the relationship between the Trump White House and the Israeli administration, made several demands in the recent past to be relieved of his duties for family reasons, but remained at his job due to the unprecedented period of political instability in Israel.

Erdan will continue to serve as a minister in the government until his official appointment as ambassador. He will take up his post at the UN as soon as the new Israeli government, to be sworn in on Thursday, approves his nomination. He will likely take over from Dermer only after the U.S. presidential election in November. 

The appointment to both Washington and New York is rare. However, according to the coalition deal, Benny Gantz will be able to appoint a new ambassador to Washington when he takes over from Netanyahu as prime minister. If and when that happens, Erdan will stay on as ambassador to UN.