UN Danon June 2016New York, June 14th, 2016 – The European Coalition for Israel welcomes the election of Israeli Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Danny Danon, as the chair of the United Nation’s Sixth Committee. Danon was nominated by the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) which includes Western and North American countries. In his new position he will be responsible for legal issues and terrorism at the 71st UN General Assembly session 2016-2017.

– “This election proves that the state of Israel is a highly respected member of the United Nations and that other member states of the UN General Assembly appreciate Israel for its active role in the world organisation,” ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said in a statement on Tuesday.

For the last five years the European Coalition for Israel has been meeting with UN ambassadors, through its UN initiative, the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, to convey a positive message about Israel that included asking that Israel gets full recognition by the world body by having one of its religious holidays recognized as a UN holiday. In December 2015 the UN finally decided to recognize Yom Kippur as one of six rotating UN holidays, in addition to President’s Day, thus marking a major victory for the state of Israel in the United Nations.

On April 18th some thirty UN ambassadors as well as senior UN officials met in the UN headquarters in New York for the first ever Passover Seder inside the UN headquarters to mark the Jewish Holiday.
The event was co-hosted by the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy and Ambassador Danny Danon.
– “At the Pesach Seder and other similar events over the last few years we have noticed a growing appreciation for the State of Israel and its important contributions to the work of the United Nations,” Director Gregory Lafitte of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy said. “The historic election of our friend Ambassador Danny Danon as the first Israeli to chair a UN main committee seems to confirm this observation,” he said.

The Forum for Cultural Diplomacy has been active on a UN level in New York for more than five years to promote a better inclusion of the state of Israel in the United Nations. The international work of ECI was launched in San Remo, Italy in April, 2010 when ECI co-hosted the 90th anniversary of the signing of the San Remo resolution which paved the way for the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. The keynote speaker at that event was then Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Danny Danon, who will now become the chairman of the UN’s Sixth Committee.

– “The stated goal of the Forum is to promote a UN where the state of Israel is fully included and where its many contributions to the UN and to mankind are recognized and celebrated. The UN has not yet reached this goal.
When a regional group nominates a candidate, the candidate is commonly accepted by acclamation in the UNGA, and not by a vote. Israel is still the only nation in UN which receives such a treatment but the election of Danon as chairman of the Sixth Committee is certainly a step in the right direction,” Lafitte concluded.