Binyamin Netanyahu, the Minister, or No. 2 official at the Israel Embassy in Washington, has been appointed Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations and will head the Israel delegation at the General Assembly under Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
Netanyahu will succeed Yehuda Blum, who last June concluded six years as Israeli representative to the world body. The appointment of Netanyahu was announced officially today, after the first weekly Cabinet meeting of the newly installed unity government. Acting Cabinet Secretary Michael Nir said the appointment was endorsed unanimously, having been submitted by Shamir.
In political circles, it is believed that Shamir was prompted to appoint Netanyahu by the young diplomat’s political patron and mentor, Minister-Without-Portfolio Moshe Arens. It was Arens who brought Netanyahu, then 33 years old, from an executive position in industry into the state service as Minister in Washington when Arens was named Ambassador there in 1982.
News of Netanyahu’s pending appointment to the UN was made public, unofficially, in the wake of private conversations between Shamir and Arens 10 days ago in which Shamir persuaded Arens, against Arens original inclination, to serve in the unity government as Minister-Without-Portfolio. Arens had been Minister of Defense in the outgoing Likud government.
PROFILE OF THE NEW ENVOY
Born in Israel in 1949, and educated in the United States, Netanyahu is the younger brother of Yonathan Netanyahu, the Israel Defense Force commander who led and was killed in the Entebbe rescue operation in 1976. Binyamin has been the organizer of subsequent conferences and publications on international terrorism in memory of his late brother.
Netanyahu is considered a rising star in the Herut firmament, with a future in politics if he chooses to go into political life. According to informed sources, though, he has carefully developed contacts over recent months with Labor leaders — now top ministers — in the hope of attaining the UN post.
One disappointed hopeful is Foreign Ministry legal advisor and a former confidant of the late Moshe Dayan, Elyakim Rubinstein. He claimed that he was promised the UN position by Shamir earlier this year. Last week, Rubinstein, in a demonstrative act, formally submitted his candidacy to the Ministry’s appointments committee.
But the committee’s decisions are in any event merely recommendations to the ministers who can ignore them. And in practice, Shamir pushed the appointment through the Cabinet before the Ministry committee dealt with it altogether.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.