Minister of Science, Technology and Space Danny Danon has been appointed as Israel's next ambassador to the UN, replacing Ron Prosor, the government announced Friday.
The 44-year-old Danon will arrive in New York during one of the most challenging times for Israel diplomatically - amid strained ties with the United States and various peace initiatives arising as a result of the freeze in negotiations with the Palestinians.
In the previous term, Danon served as the deputy defense minister until he was fired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Operation Protective Edge after he criticized the fact the ground operation did not begin sooner.
"Minister Danon accepted the important challenge I posed to him," Netanyahu said in a statement. "The United Nations is an important stage at this time and I am convinced Danny will fight with all of his strength to present the truth in the international arena."
Danon thanked Netanyahu "for the trust he has in me to represent Israel in the UN at such a challenging time. I will do everything to promote the State of Israel's just positions."
But not all were happy about Danon's appointment. Zionist Union co-leader Tzipi Livni wrote on Twitter: "Netanyahu is abandoning the State of Israel in a time of difficult diplomatic fight on the international front, and prefers his personal interest in the Likud party over Israel's security interests."
The press release issued with the appointment boasted that Danon has been involved in the field of hasbara and the development of international ties for over two decades.
Danon has been a Knesset member since 2009 and participated in many hasbara missions over the past few years. He has been serving as the chairman of the World Likud for the past 9 years, where he was responsible for hasbara efforts and foreign relations of World Likud.
In addition, Danon served as an emissary for the Jewish Agency in Florida, where, among other things, he helped encourage aliyah and did hasbara in US universities. Danon graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Florida International University (FIU), and earned a master's degree in Public Policy from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
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With his departure to New York, Sharren Haskel, who was number 31 on the Likud party list for the Knesset, is expected to take his place in the legislature.
In addition, Danon's departure could pave the way for Benny Begin to return to the government, after his resignation as a minister without portfolio shortly after being sworn-in. At the time, Netanyahu promised to "endeavor to find a position for him later on." MK Tzachi Hanegbi also expressed his wish to be appointed as minister following Danon's departure.
Another seat to be vacated with Danon's departure is that of chairman of the Likud Central Committee. Hanegbi, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and chairman of the coalition, announced his intention to run for this position. Hanegbi served eight consecutive years as chairman of the Likud Central Committee, from 1997 to 2005. Yariv Levin is also believed to be vying for this position.