United Nations HQ in New York.
(photo credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)
Israel is used to being on the defensive at the United Nations, where it is
outnumbered by its foes, but on Thursday its delegation at UN headquarters in
New York scored a rare victory.
For the first time, Israel took a seat on
the executive board of the United Nations Development Program, a top UN agency
with a budget of about a billion dollars, according to the Israeli mission in
“This is a milestone in Israel’s integration to the global
agenda of the UN,” Israel’s Deputy Permanent Representative Haim Waxman said.
“Furthermore, this is the expression of a journey that we have taken from being
a developing nation born in adversity to becoming a developed nation, a member
of the OECD and now a full member of the UNDP as a representative of the
The UNDP supports a myriad of projects in 177 nations working on
health, welfare and women’s empowerment issues. Israel was voted to its
executive board as a representative of the Western voting bloc that includes the
US, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany and Japan. Its new position on the board
will lend it a voice in setting the UNDP’s agenda and deciding on its
Waxman said Israel was proud to be a member of the organization
and would use its technological and agricultural knowhow to help developing
nations. The Jewish state would make women’s empowerment one of its top
priorities, he said.