Netanyahu: Ron Dermer will remain ambassador to U.S. for at least a year

"We will extend Ron Dermer's term as ambassador to Washington at least a year," Netyanyahu said. "And he is an excellent ambassador."

July 22, 2019 05:49
2 minute read.
US Ambassador Ron Dermer

US Ambassador Ron Dermer . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer is a “fantastic” ambassador and his tenure will be extended for another year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, correcting reports that the Civil Service Commission would not allow an extension of his term by a transitional government.

“This is an opportunity to correct something strange that I heard, as if we will not renew the services of our fantastic ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer,” Netanyahu said in a Facebook video post, “Well, I have news for you, we will extend his tenure for at least another year. He is doing tremendous work for the State of Israel in the most important embassy in the world, and will continue to do so.”
Dermer is considered one of Netanyahu’s closest confidants, and Netanyahu has said privately in the past that if it were up to him, Dermer would continue serving in the US until 2030.

Dermer’s tenure was extended last June for a sixth year, and his term is set to expire on September 30. Discussions are currently under way between Netanyahu, Dermer and the Civil Services Commissioner regarding extending it further.

Netanyahu’s desire to keep Dermer in the position comes over interest Dermer himself has expressed over the last two years in returning to Israel, having said in the past that he made aliyah from the US so he could live and raise his children in Israel, not in the Washington area.

Dermer took up his position in October 2013, during a tense time in relations between Netanyahu and then president Barack Obama. Dermer was a frequent target of criticism from senior administration officials and US Jews opposed to Netanyahu’s policies – especially the battle with Obama over the Iran deal.

Today, by contrast, Dermer has developed a very close relationship with the Trump administration. For this, too, he has been criticized by some US Jews, who argue that he has aligned Israel too closely to a divisive president.

Yair Lapid, No. 2 in the Blue and White Party, tweeted against extending Dermer’s tenure.

“I strongly oppose the extension of Ron Dermer’s appointment as the ambassador to the United States by a transitional government,” he wrote. “Dermer is not really an ambassador, he is Netanyahu’s political emissary.” He added that if Blue and White wins the election and forms a government, “we will want another ambassador in Washington.”

Later, Lapid added: “There has never been an ambassador that has caused more damage to Israel-US ties than Ron Dermer. I call on the Civil Services Commission not to approve an extension.”

The Likud tweeted in response: “There has never been a better ambassador in Washington than Dermer,” and not his contribution to getting the Trump Administration to moving the embassy to Jerusalem, recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and fighting against the Iran nuclear deal.

Only Simcha Dinitz, who completed six years as ambassador to the US, and Avraham Harman and Abba Eban – who both served in that post for nine years – have had a longer tenure as Israel’s envoy in Washington.

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