Former ambassador to the US Michael Oren.
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ANNE MANDLEBAUM)
Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon is considering appointing MK Michael Oren as deputy foreign minister, sources close to him said Thursday.
Kulanu received a deputy minister post in the coalition agreement Kahlon signed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday, but the deal did not specify in which ministry the deputy would serve.
Sources close to Kahlon said Oren was one of multiple possibilities.
He could appoint MK Eli Alalouf, an expert on fighting poverty, to a socioeconomic portfolio, or he may decide that he has to appoint a woman, such as MK Yifat Shasha-Biton.
Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who is likely to continue to hold the portfolio, both have good ties with Oren, who served under both of them as ambassador to the US from 2009-2013. However, Oren irked the prime minister by criticizing his relations with US President Barack Obama during the election campaign.
“Although he’s not too happy with Michael, he would value the help he would bring, especially on the US front,” a source close to Netanyahu said.
As ambassador, Oren built a positive relationship with Obama administration officials, including then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is currently the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the US.
Former deputy foreign minister and ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon said he thinks Oren would be great at the job, and even better as foreign minister.
“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “Oren built up great relations with Hillary [Clinton].”
Ayalon expressed concern that Liberman might not appoint Oren, because of his experience with him. When Ayalon was Liberman’s deputy, he was seen as the address for many Obama administration officials, including Clinton, who boycotted Liberman.
“I’m not sure Liberman would agree [to Oren being his deputy] because he may outshine him,” Ayalon added.
Kahlon is expected to make a decision on whom to appoint by next Wednesday’s deadline to form a government. Oren and his spokespeople declined to comment.
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