Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Dan Gillerman, has submitted a formal request to the U.N. Security Council for Israel to be included as a member.
This marks the first time Israel has submitted its candidacy for a seat in the Security Council, and U.N. sources said reactions to the move have been positive.
Gillerman submitted the request during the monthly meeting of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG),
which includes the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand and Israel.
“This is a very important moment for Israel,” Gillerman said during the meeting.
“Until recently no one thought this would be possible.”
Even if Israel’s request to become a member of the Security Council is accepted, another 13 years have to pass until an Israeli representative can hold a seat in the Council, as all seats are reserved until 2018.
However, the process of becoming a member must start now, a U.N. source explained.
The Security Council is one of the six major organs of the U.N., with the primary function of maintaining international peace and security. Currently, membership in the Security Council comprises 15 member States, five of which - China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States - are permanent members and have veto power.
The 10 other member countries are: Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Tanzania, Brazil, Greece, Japan, the Philippines and Romania.
Despite the fact that Israel is a member of the WEOG, it has been unable to submit its candidacy for temporary membership in the Security Council due to the objection of the Arab and neutral countries.
Arab countries, however, have permanent Security Council representation; Syria preceded current representative Algeria.
The request to join the Council marks another step by Israel to become an equal member of the U.N. amid the recent improvement in the country’s relations with the organization.
Diplomats said Israel’s disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank was instrumental in improving Israel-U.N. relations.
In this framework the U.N. recently held a special conference to mark 60 years since the liberation of the concentration camps and invited Gillerman to serve as one of the 20 U.N. General Assembly’s vice –presidents.
The first Israel General Assembly vice-president was the late Abba Eban.
The first meeting conducted by Gillerman was held last week, during which the ambassador invited Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom to the podium.