Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the Foreign Minister post, announced on Friday that he was appointing Minister of Science Technology and Space Danny Danon to be Israel's next ambassador to the UN.I am a big fan of outgoing ambassador Ron Prosor, and Danon is much more hawkish. Prosor, at least publicly, used humor as his main weapon to get Israel's point across. Danon would probably be, as one Twitter user said, "Israel's John Bolton."
"Danon has agreed to take on an important challenge that I proposed for him. The United Nations is an important forum right now and I am sure that Danny will represent the truth with full force in the international arena," Netanyahu said.
Danon thanked Netanyahu for giving him the trust to represent Israel during what he called a "challenging period."
"I will do everything to advance Israel's just positions," Danon said.
The Zionist Union responded to Danon's appointment by saying "Houston we have a problem," in reference to his current post as Science Technology and Space Minister.
"The appointment of Space Minister Danon as ambassador to the UN is another nail in the coffin that Bibi is putting in Israel's foreign relations. The Prime Minister is acting to find jobs for Likudniks instead of the strategic leader that Israel needs," a statement released by the party read.
Much of a diplomat's job is to work behind the scenes and establish good relationships with other diplomats. From the outside, we can't know how effective anyone is in one-to-one relationships based on their public statements.
I extensively interviewed Danon in 2012 before the US elections as he was publicizing his book. He deflected my questions about Israeli strategy towards Iran, sticking to talking points.
In part 2, he attacks the two state solution, and defends his idea of integrating Gaza into Egypt and the West Bank into Jordan. He also discusses the Arab Spring, the legal case Israel has for the West Bank and the Likud platform being against a two-state solution.
While I agree with most of Danon's political views, I'm not certain that this is the best role for him - unless Israel starts backing up his positions across the board. Someone who clearly is against a two-state solution would have a hard time convincing other diplomats of Israel's official support for it.
Of course, all diplomats must subsume their own opinions to their role, but when someone is as outspoken as Danon, any message he gives would have a huge handicap in the international community before he opens his mouth. I don't know if he can overcome that and be effective, at least to Western nations.
Not to mention the allegations that he is a reptilian shapeshifter. (I love the Internet!)