Former UN Ambassador Dore Gold to Serve as Netanyahu's Foreign Policy Adviser

Gold, whose job will focus on Israeli-U.S. relations, has relatively hawkish views and has never expressed support for the two-state solution.

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Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint Dore Gold as his new foreign policy adviser, filling a post that has been vacant for several months. But Gold, a former ambassador to the United Nations, won’t be working full-time; he will be employed as an outside consultant and paid by the hour.

His contract is expected to cost some 200,000 shekels ($57,000) a year.

Gold will focus primarily on Israeli-U.S. relations, according to a document published on the website of the government’s procurement administration on Thursday. The document, a request by the National Security Council to exempt the appointment from tender, specified that Gold will begin his one-year contract on January 1.

Gold currently heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank. During Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, in 1996-99, Gold served first as the premier’s foreign policy adviser and then as UN ambassador. He had no formal position in Netanyahu’s second administration, in 2009-13, but Netanyahu consulted him periodically and invited him to meetings on issues such as public diplomacy and relations with America.

After Netanyahu was re-elected earlier this year, he appointed his previous foreign policy adviser, Ron Dermer, as ambassador to Washington and began looking for a replacement. He initially proposed that Gold take the job as a full-time appointment, but to no avail.

Eventually, therefore, he decided on the unusual solution of employing Gold as an outside consultant. Gold will work 12.5 hours a week at the government’s standard pay rate for external consultants, which is 240 shekels an hour, while continuing his role as president of JCPA. He will also be reimbursed for expenses during overseas trips on Netanyahu’s behalf.

Even though the request to exempt his appointment from the tender requirement was filed by the National Security Council, Gold won’t be subordinate to National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen. Rather, he will work directly for Netanyahu, though he will coordinate with Cohen.

Aside from U.S.-Israeli relations, Gold is expected to focus on issues such as the Iranian nuclear program and Israeli diplomacy at the UN, among others. He will have no official involvement in negotiations with the Palestinians, where Netanyahu’s point man is attorney Isaac Molcho.

Gold has dealt with both the Iranian and the Palestinian issues in his work at JCPA. In particular, he dealt extensively with the issues of defensible borders and security arrangements under any deal with the Palestinians. He is considered to have relatively hawkish views on the Palestinian issue and has never publicly voiced support for the two-state solution, the establishment of a Palestinian state or Netanyahu’s 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University, in which the prime minister came out in favor of the two-state solution.

At the end of January, a few weeks after Gold begins his new job, the prime minister’s chief of staff, Gil Sheffer, is due to leave after two years in that post. Sheffer will be replaced by Ari Harrow, who served as Netanyahu’s bureau chief at the beginning of the prime minister’s second term.

Harrow also holds hawkish views on the Palestinian issue. In several articles published in the Jerusalem Post over the last year-and-a-half, he has come out against the establishment of a Palestinian state and harshly criticized Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is conducting the current talks with the Palestinians on the government’s behalf.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on this report.

Dr. Dore Gold, 2009. Credit: Emil Salman

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