Michael Oren at Zedekiah’s Cave.
(photo credit: GPO)
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Michael Oren will not be running for the next Knesset with the Kulanu party, he announced Sunday morning.
Oren has not made a final decision about his political future and whether he will participate in the April 9 election. Meanwhile, he is not quitting the Knesset or his deputy minister post.
It is possible that one of the new parties being formed will recruit Oren, if they decide having a foreign policy specialist is important to them. At least one new party expressed interest in Oren on Sunday.
“I have loved serving my country, and every day has been a privilege,” he said. “If I am called to the flag, I will always respond eagerly. Security and socioeconomic issues are the key issues for the new parties. The question is whether any are interested in foreign policy, Diaspora Affairs, and aliya.”
Since entering the Knesset in 2015 after a long career as a celebrated historian, author, professor and ambassador to the United States, Oren has tried to persuade Israelis of the importance of foreign relations to the average citizen.
“Getting Israelis to understand how our foreign relations affects our daily lives is difficult,” he lamented. “Israelis make an artificial distinction between security and foreign relations. You can’t have one without the other.”
Oren smummarized his four years in politics by saying that he worked tirelessly to strengthen Israel's relations with the world," he said.
"I met with many leaders, fought the boycott organizations and worked to improve the name of the State of Israel," he said. "I have done a great deal to raise the public profile of my exclusive plan to develop and expand the Golan Heights and thus establish its status in the State of Israel.
He said he is also pround that he established the Lobby for Lone Soldiers and founded Aliyah Day.
Oren is not expected to be the only Kulanu MK who leaves. Construction Minister Yoav Galant is expected to run with Likud but has not made a formal announcement. MK Rachel Azaria has been cryptic about her future. MK Eli Alalouf is retiring.
“It was an honor to serve with my fellow members of Knesset,” Oren said of the Kulanu faction.
After openly and privately sparring with many of his MKs, Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon is building a new Knesset list that will have only socioeconomically-minded candidates, in order to fight for votes with MK Orly Levy-Abecasis’s new Gesher party.
The Kulanu party released a statement thanking Oren for "his dedicated service over the past four years to the standing of the State of Israel in the world and wishes him well on his continued path."
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