Arad resigns as head of National Security Council

Netanyahu adviser says he’ll return to academia after Lieberman nixes his appointment as envoy to London.

uzi arad 224 courtesy (photo credit: Courtesy)
uzi arad 224 courtesy
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A week after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman shot down Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s attempt to appoint his close adviser, Uzi Arad, as Israel’s next envoy to London, Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying Arad had tendered his resignation as head of the National Security Council.
According to the statement, Arad asked to leave to return to academia.
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Prior to being named head of the NSC shortly after Netanyahu formed his government in 2009, Arad was head of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and chairman of the annual Herzliya Conference.
Netanyahu has already begun considering candidates to replace Arad, and on Sunday night he spoke with the two primary ones: Maj.- Gen. (res.) Ya’acov Amidror, a former head of the IDF’s Research and Assessment Division, and Maj.-Gen. Meir Kalifi, who served as military attaché in the Prime Minister’s Office until December 2010.
The Prime Minister’s Office statement left open the possibility that Arad might be appointed to another diplomatic post abroad in light of his “talent and international connections,” and said the matter was now being “considered by the foreign minister.”
Arad became the rope in a political tug-of-war last week between Netanyahu and Lieberman after the Prime Minister’s Office let it be known that the prime minister had decided to send Ron Prosor, the current envoy to London, to the UN, and then dispatch Arad to replace Prosor.
Lieberman, apparently feeling that his authority was being undermined since ambassadorial appointments are generally within the foreign minister’s purview, put Netanyahu in his place the following day at a press conference, saying it had been his idea – not Netanyahu’s – to send Prosor to the UN, but that Arad would not be going to London.
Lieberman was traveling to a meeting in Brussels Sunday night and could not be reached as to whether he was considering Arad for an alternative diplomatic post.
Netanyahu, in his statement, praised Arad’s work, saying he brought the NSC to its highest level ever. During Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, Arad served as his diplomatic adviser.
Netanyahu said that Arad brought the “utmost professionalism” to all his positions and contributed mightily to the country’s security and status.
“Only I know the size and breadth of that contribution, and I am thankful and appreciative of it,” he said. “Uzi is also a close and loyal friend, and I am thankful for his brave and long friendship.”
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Arad, widely considered a brilliant but hot-tempered strategist who quarreled often with other prime ministerial advisers, had felt in recent months that his influence on Netanyahu’s policies had waned, and that his key advisory role on national security issues was increasingly being taken over by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Kadima MK Yoel Hasson released a statement saying Arad understood that “the real prime minister is Lieberman” and that “Netanyahu is led instead of leading.”
“Netanyahu’s crumbling bureau does not function and is endangering Israel’s national interests,” Hasson said.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.