Israeli Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben 311.
(photo credit: Shahar Azran)
In a move some see as a sign that Israel’s temporary envoy to the UN Meron
Reuben may soon become the permanent ambassador there, the Foreign Ministry
announced Sunday the appointment of a new ambassador to Colombia, a position
Reuben still holds while serving as acting UN envoy.
One Foreign Ministry
official said the appointment of Yoed Magen as Israel’s next ambassador to
Bogota could be seen as a hint that Reuben will remain permanently at the
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In July, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who could not come to an
agreement with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu about whom to send to the UN to
replace Gabriela Shalev, plucked Reuben out of Bogota and named him interim UN
Appointing Reuben in an interim capacity meant he did not
need Netanyahu’s approval for the appointment. An interim appointment does not
need cabinet approval, either, and thus Reuben has been at the UN since August,
when Shalev’s term expired.
Reuben, who did not want to give up the
Colombia position in case the UN post lasted only a couple of months, remained
Israel’s ambassador to Colombia.
In late October there was talk of
sending Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan to the UN, but that idea
has not picked up traction.
Sources close to both Netanyahu and Lieberman
said Sunday that they know of no new development regarding the UN
One Foreign Ministry official, however, said it was important to
have a permanent envoy at this time in Colombia, considered Israel’s closest
friend in South America. In recent weeks Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and most
recently Bolivia have either recognized a Palestinian state inside the 1967
lines, or said they will do so in the near future.
In addition to
announcing Magen’s appointment, the Foreign Ministry also announced on Sunday
the appointment of Ya’acov Hadas-Handlesman, currently the ministry’s deputy
director-general for its Middle East and Peace Process Division, as envoy to the
EU and NATO in Brussels; Gil Haskel as ambassador to Kenya; and Hagit Ben-Yaakov
as ambassador to Latvia.