(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Political appointments of diplomats proposed by the foreign minister would require the approval of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, according to a bill proposed over the weekend by Zionist Union MK Yoel Hasson.
The legislation was offered a week after the controversial appointment of Science, Technology and Space Minister Danny Danon as the next ambassador to the United Nations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his capacity as foreign minister.
Other recent political appointments by Netanyahu include journalist Fiamma Nirenstein as ambassador to Italy; former Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria chairman Danny Dayan as ambassador to Brazil; and ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, who had been Netanyahu’s foreign policy adviser.
Hasson said appointments such as that of Danon prove the system for political appointments must be changed.
“There is currently no oversight for political appointments and there is no reason the Knesset should not take part in ensuring that we have the best possible diplomats,” Hasson said Saturday night. “My bill would advance transparency and oversight on those who represent Israel abroad.”
The bill would require hearings for such political appointees similar to those conducted in the United States for Supreme Court judges.
The hearings would be conducted jointly by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which is controlled by the coalition, and the State Control Committee, which must be headed by an opposition MK. But the vote itself would take place in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Hasson purposely proposed a twothirds majority to block an appointment, which would require the support of coalition MKs.
There would be an appeal process for rejected appointees, who may ask the speaker of the Knesset to form a special committee to reconsider the appointment.