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Israel appoints bipartisan negotiator as ambassador to US

Having served in a variety of military positions and as negotiator in several rounds of talks with the Palestinians and Arab countries, Israel’s next ambassador to the US Michael Herzog is widely hailed as the right person for the job.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced the appointment of Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Herzog as Israel’s next ambassador to the United States Aug. 6. The cabinet approved the appointment Aug. 8 and Herzog will soon fly to Washington and take up the position already vacated after the elections by Ambassador Gilad Erdan. Under the Netanyahu government, Erdan served both as ambassador to the United States and as Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, and will not retain the latter position.

Legal agreements dating from the 1950s enable the foreign minister and the prime minister to appoint 11 people who are not career diplomats to diplomatic positions. Most governments have fully exploited the opportunity to appoint political figures to ambassadorial positions, such as Likud senior Carmel Shama Hacohen serving as ambassador to UNESCO and the OECD in Paris under the Netanyahu government. After returning to Israel, Shama Hacohen went back to politics and was elected mayor of Ramat Gan. Netanyahu appointed Likud senior Tzipi Hotovely Israel’s ambassador to London. Former Health Minister Yael German, of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, was recently appointed Israel’s ambassador to Paris.

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