Blue and White seeks ban on ambassador appointments before elections

Party responds to reports Gilad Erdan could be named United Nations envoy, Ayoub Kara may take up top post in Cairo

The empty seats of the Israel delegation to the UN as President Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP/Richard Drew)
The seats of the Israel delegation to the United Nations at the UN General Assembly, September 26, 2014 . (AP /Richard Drew)

The opposition Blue and White party asked the attorney general on Wednesday to bar Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from appointing new permanent ambassadors to the United Nations and Egypt while the government is in transition.

In a letter to Avichai Mandelblit, Blue and White argued that according to previous decisions by the Supreme Court and the attorney general, a transitional government during an election period is not allowed to make important political appointments.

In a separate letter, a group of retired ambassadors called on the government to confirm the new ambassador to Cairo, Amira Oron, a Foreign Ministry veteran who was appointed to the position last fall, saying “a worthy professional appointment to the sensitive position in Egypt is far more important than a ‘political arrangement.'”

Those complaints came in response to reports that Netanyahu intends to appoint fellow Likud party members to top diplomatic posts: Gilad Erdan as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, and, overriding Oron’s appointment, Ayoub Kara for the position of ambassador to Egypt.

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara gives a speech at the International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on October 30, 2018. (Stringer/AFP)

Israel is in an unprecedented period of transitional government with limited powers after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition following April 9 elections. Israelis are scheduled to go back to the polls September 17 and a new government is not expected to take office until November.

The retired ambassadors pointed out the sensitivity of Israel’s relations with its neighbor Egypt, the largest Arab country.

“The representation of the State of Israel is always a unique, delicate and complex task, especially in such an important country as Egypt, whose relations are a cornerstone for Israel in the Middle East,” the ambassadors wrote in the letter.

Oron previously served in the Egyptian capital and headed the Foreign Ministry’s Egypt division. She would be the first woman to serve as the ambassador in Cairo.

Kara, the outgoing communications minister, who failed to get reelected in the April 9 national election, is a Netanyahu loyalist who has had several undiplomatic outbursts, most recently calling fellow Likud members “Nazis” and a “mafia” earlier this year after he failed to gain enough votes during the internal party primary.

Public Security Minister Erdan would replace the current United Nations ambassador, Danny Danon, whose term is due to end in a few weeks.

There was no confirmation from Likud of the news reports regarding the appointments of Erdan and Kara.

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