Minister Gilad Erdan Turns Down Post of UN Ambassador

Environmental protection minister says he would rather focus on environmental reforms in Israel than assume the UN post.

Minister Gilad Erdan notified Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday that he has decided to turn down their offer to assume the position of Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.

Erdan's decision to continue his role as environmental protection minister came after Netanyahu failed to grant him particular guarantees regarding his authority in the position, as well as Netanyahu's own hesitance to send Erdan abroad following the coalition crisis the government has recently suffered.

Netanyahu told Erdan that he respects his choice to continue working on important environmental issues within Israel, and added that he will continue to support Erdan in advancing environmental reforms.

Erdan said that it was hard making a decision between "two challenging positions which are two different kinds of national missions."

Michal Fattal

"Representing Israel in the United Nations presented me with challenging political goals, but in the end my commitment to the environment and my fervent desire to finish the environmental reforms in Israel triumphed," Erdan said.

Netanyahu initially wanted to give the position to Erdan because he believes opinion Israel requires a more senior figure in the role of UN ambassador, especially in light of Palestinian efforts to advance anti-Israeli resolutions at the United Nations as well as potential recognition of a Palestinian state by the Security Council or the General Assembly later this year.