Erdan, 20 other UN envoys elected vice presidents of General Assembly

Israeli ambassador, whose predecessor also held role, will chair meetings, help set agenda for GA session in September; he says win sends ‘clear message’ to adversaries

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan addresses the General Assembly on January 20, 2022. (Screen capture)
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan addresses the General Assembly on January 20, 2022. (Screen capture)

Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan was elected on Tuesday as a Vice-President of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Erdan said in a statement that the new role will provide a valuable platform for Israel in the face of “ongoing lies of the Palestinians and others at the UN.”

Erdan will serve in the year-long role beginning September when the assembly convenes for its annual session. He will be one of 21 vice presidents during the annual session.

As vice-president, Erdan will chair meetings of the General Assembly and will also be partially involved in setting the agenda for the meetings.

“This triumph sends a clear message to our enemies that they will not prevent us from participating in leading roles at the UN and in the international arena. Hatred must never triumph over the truth.  I won’t allow it,” he said.

Israel has sought to expand its role and influence at the UN, after decades of being blocked from key roles by unfriendly states. In January, Erdan spearheaded a successful resolution at the General Assembly combating Holocaust denial.

In several recent firsts, Israel was elected to serve on the UN Economic Council in 2021, and Odelia Fitoussi became Israel’s first representative on the Committee of Experts on Disability in 2020.

Erdan’s appointment as vice president was not a first for an Israeli envoy. His predecessor Danny Danon was elected as one of the vice presidents of the 72nd session of the assembly in 2017.

Iran and Syria voiced objections to Erdan’s promotion but stopped short of demanding a vote, fearing a lack of support for the measure.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, September 27, 2021, at UN headquarters. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, Pool)

The election comes amid recent negative attention on Israel over an uptick in violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israel faced international outcry after the Palestinians accused the IDF of killing Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11 while she covered clashes in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Israel says it is possible she was hit by IDF fire, but cannot draw conclusions while the Palestinian Authority refuses to cooperate in the investigation and turn over the bullet that killed her.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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