JERUSALEM (Sep. 17)
Israel’s Cabinet has formally endorsed Foreign Minister David Levy’s appointment of Yoram Aridor to be Israel’s permanent representative at the United Nations.
Aridor, a former finance minister and close ally of Levy’s, is expected to go to New York in a few weeks to shepherd the Israeli delegation through most of General Assembly’s fall session.
He will replace Johanan Bein, who has been Israel’s acting representative since Binyamin Netanyahu resigned the U.N. post in the spring of 1988 to stand for election to the Knesset.
A lawyer by profession and considered one of the keenest minds in Israeli politics, Aridor was forced to resign from the Treasury in 1983, in the aftermath of the massive collapse of bank shares on the stock market.
Though he escaped the taint of scandal, he dropped out of the Likud Knesset list and remained on the fringe of politics in the ensuing years.
But he was always a staunch supporter of Levy’s. The patrician attorney and the former bricklayer of Moroccan origin worked closely together in the Likud faction of Histadrut, the trade union federation, where the opposition Labor Party is still dominant.
Aridor’s appointment to the sensitive and prestigious post was seen here as a move by Levy to consolidate his political standing in Likud and reward an old and loyal friend. It gives Levy a trusted confidant in an overseas hot spot.
Aridor, unlike his immediate predecessors, is not a career diplomat. Nor is Israel’s new ambassador-designate to Washington, Zalman Shuval, who will replace Moshe Arad, a foreign service professional.
Shuval, a banker and No. 2 man in Likud’s Ometz faction, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency he had been offered the diplomatic post several times in recent years, but personal and other reasons prevented him from accepting it.
He insisted his appointment was not part of a coalition deal between Likud and the Ometz faction, as had been suggested in some news media reports here.