Minister for Home Front Defense Matan Vilnai will be named the next Israeli ambassador to China, Ynet learned Tuesday. He will replace current Ambassador Amos Nadai.
Vilnai, 68, was GOC Southern Command and served in several other top government posts. He currently serves as an MK for the Independence Party.
Leading up to his nomination, the Civil Service Commission held a hearing for Vilnai on Tuesday morning. The commission is expected to hand in its recommendation to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Lieberman expressed his confidence that Vilnai would fulfill his new diplomatic role to the best of his ability, adding that due to Israel's interest in tightening its ties with China, it is only appropriate that a high-ranking official would represent the Jewish state's interests there.
Taking over Vilnai's Knesset seat for the Independence Party is Shachiv Shnaan, a former Labor member. Shnaan's departure from the party was abrupt, Ynet learned. "Shachiv is a serious man and I have no doubt he'll contribute to the Independence Party", party Chairman Ehud Barak said.
Shnaan's decision to switch parties evoked a cynical response from several Labor members, due to the fact that he was next in line on the party's roster to enter the Knesset.
"The Labor Party headed by Sheli Yachimovich has continued to blossom ever since Ehud Barak and his opportunistic friends left it," a Labor source said.
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