Israel’s U.N. rep: Life might be easier without U.N., but it’s necessary

NEW YORK (JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Meron Reuben, told JTA that "life might be easier" if the world body didn’t exist.

But, he added, “whether we like it or not, we have to partake in its deliberations.”

The United Nations “is the most important multilateral organization in the world,” Reuben said. “Israel cannot be seen to be outside the United Nations.”

Reuben spoke with JTA on Monday morning hours before he was scheduled to hold his first face-to-face meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since his temporary appointment by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Netanyahu did not approve of Reuben’s appointment, so Reuben has taken the post on an interim basis.

“The hypocrisy of the United Nations makes Israel the scapegoat for everything,” Reuben, who also serves as Israel’s ambassador to Colombia, said in an interview. “We have learned, unfortunately, to live with this, but I hope it won’t go on forever.”

Reuben also said that Israel has made some positive strides at the United Nations in recent years, noting the passage three years ago of the first Israeli-sponsored resolution at the international body, the rising number of Israelis who hold official positions in the U.N. bureaucracy — 15 in the U.N. hierarchy and 65 in affiliated organizations — and the establishment of an official U.N. Holocaust day of remembrance.

“It’s good that people around the world see what Israel has to offer,” Reuben said.

NEXT STORY