The five new members of the UN Security Council selected on Thursday may tilt
slightly more in Israel’s favor than the countries they are replacing,
diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said.
Rwanda, Argentina, Australia,
Luxembourg and South Korea will now serve for two years on the body that will
play a significant role on issues affecting Israel, such as Iran, Syria, and a
Palestinian bid for statehood recognition.
They are replacing South
Africa, Colombia, Portugal, Germany and India.
The Security Council is
made up of five permanent members – the US, Russia, China, France and Britain –
and 10 other countries that serve for two years on a rotating basis. Each year
five countries are rotated. The five other countries who will be on the Council
in 2013 are Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.
new countries, which will begin serving on January 1 for two years, needed to
win a two-thirds majority in the 193-member General Assembly.
On the plus
side, one Israeli source said, is the replacement of South Africa – one of
Israel’s harshest critics – with Rwanda, with which Israel has good ties; and
the replacement of Portugal with Australia, a staunch friend of
The official said that Australia’s election to the Security
Council proves that a country can be a strong supporter of Israel and still win
a coveted seat. Two years ago Canada lost out to Portugal, with some attributing
that in part to Ottawa’s strong support of Israel.
The official said that
the replacement of India with South Korea is a net plus, but not as dramatic as
replacing South Africa with Rwanda. While Israel enjoys strong bilateral ties
with both South Korea and India, Seoul has a better voting record on
Israel-related issues in international forums than New Delhi.
negative side of the ledger is the replacement of Colombia, Israel’s best friend
in South America, with Argentina; and the replacement of Germany, one of
Israel’s strongest supporters, with Luxembourg, one of the most critical
countries of Israel inside the EU.
Ron Prosor, Israel’s envoy to the UN,
urged the new members of the Security Council to promote solutions to burning
issues on the international agenda, such as efforts to keep Iran from attaining
nuclear weapons, and stopping the slaughter in Syria.