Erdan turns down UN post to work on environment

Environmental Protection Minister says he remains committed to the environment, decreasing air pollution and building parks.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 8, 2011 09:25
3 minute read.
Gilad Erdan

Erdan 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan ended months of speculation about whether he would accept an offer to become ambassador to the UN when he announced on Tuesday that he had decided to remain at his ministry.

Erdan thanked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for showing confidence in him by offering him the post. He said that he thought long and hard about taking the UN ambassadorship, but he instead decided to continue what he called revolutions in recycling, composting, decreasing air pollution, and developing metropolitan parks around the country.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Erdan undecided on UN post, but MKs eyeing his job
Erdan praises leaks for showing how much Israel offered

“It would have been an honor to represent Israel at the UN,” Erdan said at an environmental business conference at Netanya’s Island Hotel. “We are facing a serious challenge there in our public diplomacy. I had a difficult time deciding. But in the end, I decided to follow my conscience. The environmental revolution is the most important thing for me, and I want to complete all the reforms I initiated and help Israel become more green.”

Erdan’s decision came at a time when polls find him to be one of the Likud’s most popular cabinet members, which could result in him landing a plum portfolio in the next government.

He would have had to sit out the next election had he taken the UN post.

Sources close to Erdan said Netanyahu wanted him to stay in Israel, where in addition to his role as environment minister, he also serves as the cabinet’s representative to the Knesset and as one of the prime minister’s top defenders. But they said Netanyahu made it clear to Erdan that it was his decision.



“As a former UN ambassador, [I say] Erdan could have been a terrific ambassador, but I respect his decision to remain environment minister and continue the important work he has been doing,” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu vowed to help Erdan advance his environmental agenda and keep it a top priority of his government.

The prime minister and foreign minister are expected to discuss the fate of the UN ambassadorship in upcoming days. Until a decision is made, career diplomat Meron Reuben will remain in the post on a temporary basis.

Officials close to Netanyahu speculated that he might decide not to appoint an ambassador until closer to the annual UN General Assembly session in September.

Netanyahu and Lieberman have had difficulty in agreeing on who to choose for the post.

The State Attorney’s Office intends to decide by the end of the month whether to indict Lieberman, and though he has said he would not quit his post until after a hearing several months later, Lieberman would certainly be weakened by an indictment, which could give Netanyahu more leverage against him.

Netanyahu in the past wanted to return former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold to the post. Other names that have been mentioned include current ambassador to the United Kingdom Ron Prosor and former ambassador to the US Zalman Shoval.

There are also former diplomats who see themselves as candidates for the post and have been lobbying for it, including Eli Avidar, who was a diplomatic adviser to prime minister Ariel Sharon and headed the diplomatic representative office in Qatar, and Yitzhak Ben-Gad, a former consul-general in Chicago and Miami.

Environmental organizations praised Erdan for staying at the ministry.

Amit Bracha, director-general of the Israel Union for Environmental Defense (Adam, Teva, V’din), said Erdan’s decision testifies to his commitment to defending the environment in Israel and internationally. He said this was especially important due to the many environment challenges Israel currently faces.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel expressed hope that Erdan would continue to fight to maintain beaches and free access to nature sites.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN