TEL AVIV (Feb. 2)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has privately expressed reservations over the proposal to appoint Soviet Jewry activist Natan Sharansky to be Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, informed sources here said Thursday.
While he admires the former prisoner of conscience, Shamir is concerned that naming him to the highly visible U.N. post might be perceived in Moscow as a needless provocation at a time when Soviet-Israeli relations seem to be warming, the sources said.
The idea originated with Deputy Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was Israel’s U.N. envoy before he quit last year to run for the Knesset.
Shamir is said to regret its premature disclosure to the news media. It will be hard now to back away from the appointment without causing Sharansky some embarrassment.
Officials here said Shamir will try to have the proposal quietly shelved. In doing so, he is likely to have the cooperation of his coalition partner, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, whose consent is needed for the appointment.
Many members of Peres’ Labor Party have voiced opposition to Sharansky as head of Israel’s U.N. delegation.