Bibi, Lieberman at odds over interim U.N. envoy choice


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly is opposed to the acting Israeli ambassador to the United Nations appointed by his foreign minister.

Avigdor Lieberman announced the appointment of Meiron Reuven, currently the ambassador to Colombia, last Friday to succeed Gabriela Shalev, who will leave her post on Sept. 1 to become head of Ono Academic College’s academic board.

Netanyahu reportedly heard about the appointment through news reports. As the appointment is temporary, no Cabinet approval was necessary.

Six months ago Netanyahu prevented Lieberman from bringing his preference for the position, former New York consul general Alon Pinkas, to the Cabinet for consideration, and some have speculated that this is Lieberman’s payback.

Reuven, a South Africa native, moved to London at the age of 10; English is his native language. He joined the Foreign Ministry in 1988 and has served as envoy to Paraguay and Bolivia.

Netanyahu and Lieberman have been feuding for the past several weeks over several issues, starting with Netanyahu’s decision to send Minister of Trade, Industry and Labor Benjamin Ben-Eliezer to Turkey for a meeting with its foreign minister, and continuing with the state budget and a prospective conversion measure.

At a farewell dinner on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice praised Shalev for her service, calling her one of Israel’s best U.N. ambassadors. Shalev, appointed by Tzipi Livni in 2008, was the first woman to serve in the job. 

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