Netanyahu to ask for 5th year for Dermer in Washington

Dermer, one of Netanyahu's closest confidants, took up his job in Washington in October 2013.

March 2, 2017 13:07
1 minute read.
Israel's ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer (R),.

Israel's ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer (R),.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Some two years after Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire Ambassador to US Ron Dermer, Netanyahu will ask the cabinet on Sunday to extend Dermer’s term in Washington for a fifth year.

In background material the cabinet secretary provided the government ministers on Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s government meeting, the request for an extension was explained “in light of the diplomatic challenges facing Israel” in the US, as well as the need for continuity in this position.

If Dermer’s tenure is extended for another year, he will be the longest serving ambassador to the US since Simcha Dinitz in the 1970s. In addition, only Abba Eban and Avraham Harman served for longer periods in the 1950s and 60s.

Dermer, one of Netanyahu’s closest confidants, took up his job in Washington in October 2013. He was often a lightning rod for those in the US Jewish community – and in Israel – opposed to Netanyahu’s policies.

Margalit called for him to be fired following Netanyahu’s address to Congress in March 2015 against the Iran nuclear deal, a speech that enraged then-president Barack Obama and many Democrats, and which Dermer was accused of “orchestrating.” Margalit wrote Netanyahu that firing Dermer was a “necessary first step” in efforts to repair ties with Washington.

Dermer’s position, however, was never really in any jeopardy because of Netanyahu’s trust in him, and his standing in the eyes of the White House has risen significantly since the election of President Donald Trump. Dermer is considered to have close ties with a number of key players in Trump’s inner circle.

According to the background material provided the ministers, “there is no reason to be verbose about the strategic importance of relations between Israel and the United States, especially in relation to the new administration of US President Donald Trump.”

Dermer, according to the cabinet secretariat, has developed a wide network of valuable contacts “that will serve him well” in his dealing with the new administration and Congress.

The request for Dermer’s extension is expected to be approved.

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