MK (Likud) Tzipi Hotevely, a member of the party’s younger generation, was pleased to learn that she was being appointed Deputy Foreign Minister without an active minister overseeing her since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is officially serving as Foreign Minister too. However, her exuberance was short lived as MK Silvan Shalom has been appointed as a minister and he will be filling the Foreign Minister’s role for all practical purposes.
Shalom has been placed in charge of negotiations between Israel and the PA (Palestinian Authority) in addition to the ‘dialogue’ between Israel and the US. Hence the prime minister is placing Shalom in position to watch over the young Hotevely.
According to Ynet, Shalom told his allies in the party that the prime minister promised him that he would serve as the nation’s unofficial foreign minister. This is in direct contradiction to promises from the prime minister to Hotevely, who was told she would be deputy minister with ministerial authority.
Shalom’s first task might be to intercept the PA, which is planning to challenge Israel in the International Court of Justice. If Shalom succeeds in restarting negotiations with the PA, it could prevent the complicated issues that Israel may face with The International Court of Justice in The Hague.
It appears that Shalom will be the one deals with the Quartet of Nations, the EU and other foreign affairs-related matters, not Hotevely, so in essence, her position is little more than a title.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)