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August 14, 2015 2:13 pm

Danny Danon Confidant Says Hawkish Minister Will ‘Surprise Many’ as Israel’s UN Envoy

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Israeli MK Danny Danon. Photo: World Likud.

Israeli MK Danny Danon. Photo: World Likud.

Hawkish Israeli Minister Danny Danon, just tapped to become Israel’s next envoy to the United Nations, “will surprise many” in his new role, a close confidant and adviser to the U.S.-educated Likud Party member told The Algemeiner on Friday.

“Expect to see him active on issues including women’s rights” said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record and asked not to be named.

“There are thousands of women being raped and sold as slaves in the Middle East by ISIS, and on this — and similar issues — Danon will speak the truth and not worry about political correctness,” the source said. “He has long been very politically savvy and has unusual political allies, and that will continue at the U.N.”

The 44-year-old was offered the position earlier this year as part of the political Rubik’s Cube Netanyahu had to solve as he formed the narrowest of governing coalitions after his election win in March.

According to the source, “Danon was offered this position – and took it instead of a more senior cabinet position, which he was offered at the time the government was formed. He wants to be prime minister – or foreign minister – and this is a chance to be on the world stage for Israel.”

Danon currently serves as Minister of Science, Technology and Space, a role which he may have taken on temporarily while awaiting the conclusion of current U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor’s term. Since first entering the Knesset in 2009, Danon has steadily climbed the ranks within the Likud party, now placed at no. 9 on the party list. In 2014, he unsuccessfully challenged Netanyahu for leadership of the party, and was fired from his post as Deputy Defense Minister last summer after criticizing the government’s handling of Operation Protective Edge.

In an extensive interview with The Algemeiner in 2012, a soft-spoken Danon said of his relationship with Netanyahu, “I think he appreciates me, because I’m very direct with him. Whatever I tell him in a closed room, he knows that’s my position.”

In Israel, the opposition was quick to condemn the appointment, saying Danon’s opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state as well as his other nationalist positions were not well-suited for the sensitive task of representing Israel in the often hostile U.N.

“Netanyahu is abandoning the state of Israel in the middle of a difficult battle in the international arena,” said MK Tzipi Livni of the Center-Left Zionist Union party.

The prime minister “prioritizes his personal interests in the Likud Central Committee over the security interests of the state of Israel,” she charged, according to the The Times of Israel. 

The leader of Israel’s opposition, Isaac Herzog, said the appointment was “cynical and driven by petty politics.”

“This is like an elephant in a China shop,” said Erel Margalit, another Zionist Union MK. “Danon will make us miss the harm Netanyahu caused to Israel’s foreign relations.”

In a scathing editorial, Times of Israel editor-in-chief David Horovitz echoed those sentiments. 

“It is hard to conceive of a more short-sighted, shameful and damaging appointment than that of the Likud hawk as U.N. envoy,” he wrote. “Not just for [the prime minister], but for all of Israel.”

But in conversation with The Algemeiner, Danon’s acquaintance shot back. “The Left in Israel is upset – do they think that having a leftist at the United Nations will see the U.N. singing Kumbaya for Israel?” the source asked.  The “criticism is absurd – no matter who at the U.N. represents Israel, the U.N. hates Israel.”

“The same way that the Iran deal is not about Netanyahu, the U.N. hating Israel is not about Danon,” the source continued. “And indeed with Danon at the U.N., Israel will be represented by someone fiercely pro-Israel.”

Others also were quick to praise Danon’s appointment.

Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes said the appointment to the “high-profile position … will likely turn Danon into an international figure.”

“The opposition has predictably twisted its knickers over the appointment, both accusing Netanyahu of doing anything to remove Danon from his Likud Party positions and seeing this as ‘another nail in the coffin of Israel’s foreign relations,'” he said.

Pipes predicted that, “Facing the U.N., Netanyahu and Danon will finally be on the same page.” Additionally, he said “Danon will use this as a platform eloquently to promote his country’s interests and to promote his own eventual candidacy for prime minister.”

Concluded Pipes: “A star has been born.”

Danon earned a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Florida International University, and a master’s in public policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In the 1990’s he served as a leader of Zionist youth group Betar North America. Throughout his time in the U.S., Danon developed strong ties with lawmakers and leaders of the U.S. Jewish community.

In the 2012 interview with The Algemeiner, he described his image among the Israeli public as divided.

“People don’t ignore me, but I can tell you that I care,” he said. “Even Mordechai [the Biblical character in the Purim story] was only welcomed by the majority of his brothers.  So I’m not busy trying to satisfy everybody all the time. I say what I think, what I believe, and I do get support for that.”

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  • Simone Miller

    Israel has sent many great ambassadors to the un. I am sure that Danny DAnon will continue that tradition.

  • Moshe Akiva

    Often hostile UN? Are you kidding me?
    That implies the UN sometimes is not hostile to Israel. I can’t remember for one single such occasion.

    Danon will be fine, although I see this move on Bibi’s part as getting rid of one of his rivals.

  • Michael Fox

    Appeasement has a long history of failures without a single success story on the international political stage. Yet for some, hope springs eternal. In Middle Eastern Muslim politics, appeasement is seen as a cowardly weakness and an opportunity to exploit and the UN is the Muslim propaganda soap box on which to do it.

    The UN is the perfect incubator for anti-Semitism masked by a politically correct culture that uses Israel to legitimize ancient Jewish psycho-phobias.

    Danny Danon will not win over any new converts to reason in this highly dysfunctional organization but have no doubt, appeasement is not in his DNA and Israeli UN Ambassador Danon will be heard.

    • Jerry G

      Danny Danon will be Daniel in the Lions Den at the UN.

  • theo

    Danny Danon is an inspired choice !
    Israel is answering Obama in an appropriate fashion
    Israel will not equivocate in its policies In the wake of the American disdain for Israel’s security by dealing with Iran Israel is expressing that it will not yield to weakness It knows what its vital interests are and will pursue these interests
    To be vilified whatever it does emphasizes that Israel has to look after itself

  • Vivienne Havalant (Leijonhufvud)

    Danon is a brilliant choice by Mr. Natanyahu, apart from BBN Israel needs a man at the UN who can fight for Israel and bring about serious change. Being a legal expert can only serve Israel more. By the way I am not an Israeli citizen but Danon and Natanyahu leave most politicians (apart from defense) looking too sympathetically at Political Correctness, or ‘Stockholm Syndrome’! Middle east Islamic influences have to dealt with head on and now.

  • Robert Davis

    I amsure Danny Danon will be an excellent choice in any post including the un which is not the most important for a man like him because Israel’s future depends on the Israeli public and internal décisions. The international arena is only gimmicks. Who cares for what french or …swedish lefters say or think? NO ONE. They have NO importance for Israel and I would say even for their own nations. To HELL with these nazi lefters. Israel’s internal and external problems can be solved only by the Israeli public and its politicians. Keep the “palestiians” and they keep the perpetual war for ever along with pressures, boycotts,antisemitism etc. Expell them and the matter is OVER in a matter of DAYS.


    It will not make any difference – most of the world will still hate the Jews – but it’s about time that Israel had a powerful, even undiplomatic, voice to answer the calumnies and misoJudaic rhetoric within the international “peace” body.
    Danon will spread Jewish Pride (Hadar) and will expound the principle of “silence is despicable” to the world.
    Do not falter, do not fail!

  • Michael Fox

    I know PM Netanyahu fired Danny Dannon from his previous position because he was too outspoken but he must really not like him to stick him into the club of Jew haters at the UN. On the positive side, I know Mr Dannon will not be a sheep being led to slaughter. Count on it!

  • Mickey Oberman

    If the government’s and Netanyahu’s opposition does not like Danon I am certain he was the ‘right’ choice and will be good for Israel.

  • Abraham

    Danny Danon was a very good choice. He will do a great job.

  • Lawrence

    It takes a strong person to fill this position at the U.N. because they will be confronted with false accusations, slander, bigotry, and corruption on a regular basis. As a side note, I agreed with Danon when he criticized Netanyahu’s false promise of wiping out Hamas. However, I could also understand that this should have been discussed in private. For many years, I have been trying to get some answers as to why something isn’t done to either clean up or dissolve the U.N. They have lost all credibility and have deteriorated to the point that they are nothing accept a mouth piece for the Arabs. I think Mr. Posner did a fine job in responding to the U.N.’s long standing policy of anti Semitic and anti Israel accusations in a calm and well thought out way. I am not surprised at all that the left in Israel opposes Danon’s appointment, they prefer to have a weak minded, weak principled ass kisser fill the position. A position at the U.N. will be an important factor in building a strong resume for a politician that is poised to be Prime Minister some day.

  • Andria switzer

    This looks like a great appointment. The UN needs a shake up, nothing politically correct produces any results there and it’s hate filled towards Israel so Danon can’t do any damage.

  • Eric R.

    A lot of people complained when Gillerman was made UN Ambassador, and he was fabulous at the job.


    Will Danny Danon have the courage and freedom to say the inconvenient truths that the UN and US have refused to acknowledge for so long?
    Will Israel, as prophesied so long ago, be able to stop depending on a misguided world for help, and turn to our Father in heaven for our salvation as a nation (Israel) and people (Jews)?
    May it be soon.

  • zadimel

    I wish Ambassador Donan the very best in his representing Israel before the United Nations. The task will be difficult, but the recompense will be a source of great pleasure for the soul and for the entire nation of Israel and other democracies.

  • Jack

    There’s Bibi, now there’s Didi.