Putting Politics Aside, Israeli Right Hails Tzipi Livni's Potential UN Role

Senior politicians from Likud and Habayit Hayehudi parties praise the Zionist Union leader, who could be the first Israeli to serve as UN under-secretary general.

Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni at the annual INSS conference, January 24, 2017.
Moti Milrod

In an unusual move, right-wing Israeli politicians abandoned their ideological disputes with lawmaker Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) and instead chose to congratulate her on her possible appointment as a United Nations undersecretary-general, as first reported by Haaretz.

In a tweet, MK Betzalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) said that “Livni in a senior UN position is a wonderful idea. As a Zionist patriot with experience, it’s certain that she’ll do great work. Enough already with the automatic cataloging of right-left.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of Smotrich’s party, indicated that she also supported the appointment by answering Smotrich with “You’re right.”

Likud Minister Yisrael Katz also welcomed Livni’s possible appointment. In an interview with Army Radio, Katz said, “If Livni can get involved in UN activity, I personally see that as positive.”

Dani Dayan, a former settler leader and now Israel’s consul-general in New York, said: “I’d be very happy if Tzipi Livni would be appointed to a senior international position. It would be an honor and great service to the State of Israel.”

Haaretz reported on Sunday that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres offered Livni the position of under-secretary general. She would be the first Israeli to serve in that position if she accepts, though the appointment ultimately depends on the UN Security Council's approval.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the possible appointment of an Israeli to a UN  post at Sunday’s cabinet meeting without mentioning Livni by name. 

“A few days ago I was informed of the possible appointment of Salam Fayyad to a UN position and I said it was about time that there was reciprocity in the relationship of the UN to Israel and that they can’t keep giving free gifts to the Palestinian side all the time,” he said. “It’s about time that they give status and appointments to the Israeli side. In the event that it’s a suitable appointment, we will consider it.”

Culture Minister Miri Regev was the only one to publicly oppose the appointment. Immediately after Netanyahu’s remarks, she said, “There has to be a representative of the State of Israel; I’m not sure this is the proper and appropriate appointment.”