Lieberman: I, Not Netanyahu, Choose Israel's Ambassadors

Foreign Minister rejects reports that Uzi Arad was planning to leave position of national security adviser to replace Ron Prosor as envoy to London.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday rejected speculation that he would appoint National Security Adviser Uzi Arad as ambassador to Britain.

Various Israeli media had reported that Arad was top in line to replace Ron Prosor for the job after the latter was appointed Israel's permanent envoy to the United Nations.

lieberman - Olivier Fitoussi - January 26 2011
Olivier Fitoussi

But Lieberman lashed out at the reports on Monday, telling his Yisrael Beiteinu faction that he was planning to appoint a diplomat from the foreign ministry.

"I have demonstrated maximum tolerance, loyalty and cooperation with every ambassador appointed," he declared. "We have tried for more than a year to manuever around this.

"I respect that the custom of letting the prime minister have his 'say' in who is appointed ambassador to Washington, but nobody can remember intervention of the sort in the UN or in consulate position in New York."

"I very much respect the prime minister, but I have informed him that I am not prepared to waste more time and decided to appoint Prosor. To my astonishment, I read that the prime minister had decided to send Prosor to the UN and Uzi Arad to London," Lieberman said.

"I respect the prime minister, but I do not need to fight for credit," Lieberman said. "I have high consideration for the prime minister, but the ambassadors are appointed by the foreign minister. I will not give up on that."

Regarding the contentious appointment in question, Lieberman declared: "I very much respect Uzi Arad, but he will not be the ambassador to London, simple as that."

Lieberman said later that he called Arad personally to apologize for the misunderstanding.