Former Israeli envoy Ron Prosor courted by numerous parties ahead of elections

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Israeli elections 2019

Former Israeli envoy Ron Prosor courted by numerous parties ahead of elections

Diplomat appears to be hot property before Israel goes to the polls in April saying he has "plenty more to contribute to the state"

Joe Millis is a journalist

Ron Prosor
Ron Prosor

A former Israeli Ambassador to the UK is a wanted man; several Israeli political parties want Ron Prosor to be part of their lists for the 9 April election.

Prosor – who was also UN ambassador and press attaché in London – is hot property for parties from the ultra-nationalist New Right and Yisrael Beytenu to the more centrist Yesh Atid and Benny Gantz’s new Resilience Party.

And Prosor – currently the Abba Eban Chair of International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya – himself has declined to rule out standing, with speculation that he will announce his decision by the end of next week.

“Even after 30 years of public service, I have plenty more to contribute to the state,” Prosor said. “The upcoming elections are indeed an opportunity, but I have not yet made a decision about whether to enter politics.”

In his more than 20 years with the Foreign Ministry, Prosor also served as director-general of the ministry, as well as having senior roles in Washington and Bonn.

He was instrumental in establishing diplomatic relations behind the Iron Curtain following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and was a member of Israel’s delegation to the Wye River Summit talks in 1998.

Prosor has also visited Indonesia in what was seen as a bid to open ties with the world’s most populous Muslim state.

The New Right party, led by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, had talks with Prosor, according to the Kan public broadcaster, about joining the party list.

New Right neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying gnomically: “We’re happy about all the attention we’re getting, but we can’t specifically address each speculation. When the time is right, we will publicise our [Knesset] list.”

Meanwhile, according to Kan, retired IDF brigadier general Gal Hirsch was also approached by New Right to join its list.

Hirsch announced last week he would enter politics, although he did not say whether he would join an existing party or the ruling Likud.

There may be a fly in the ointment, however. Concerns about his business interests scuppered his nomination for police commissioner in 2015.

And the police and the Israel Tax Authority are expected to recommend indicting Hirsch on tax evasion, it was reported last week, two days after he announced he would run for Knesset.

Hirsch reacted angrily, saying: “It appears we are watching a rerun. The same police that three and a half years ago illegally thwarted my candidacy for the role of police commissioner are now even trying to thwart my candidacy for the Knesset through the same improper means and leaks that are completely unsubstantiated.”

It is also all change for the ultra-Orthodox parties and Arab Joint List. The Ashkenazi Agudat Yisrael and Degel Hatorah have dissolved their Yahadut Hatorah partnership while the parties making up the Joint List – from the social democratic, Jewish-Arab Hadash Party to the Palestinian ultra-nationalist Balad and Ta’al parties – will be standing separately.

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