Israelis reacted furiously on Wednesday to what appeared to be blatant interference in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu's coalition-building efforts by a senior United Nations envoy.
Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper reported that UN Special Envoy Robert Serry had told a group of Israeli activists that Netanyahu's expected appointment of Knesset member Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) as Israel's new housing minister was a mistake because it would lead to the construction of new Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
Serry said that building homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria only further delegitimizes Israel in the eyes of the world, and so people like MK Ariel should be kept out of such positions.
The Jewish Home party has requested the housing ministry as part of its demands for entering Netanyahu's coalition, which the prime minister is already having great trouble putting together.
Ariel himself slammed the Serry and the UN for meddling at such a delicate time.
"This is an incredibly arrogant statement, and constitutes blatant interference in Israel’s sovereignty," Ariel said in remarks carried by Israel National News.
Other political movements in Israel noted that Serry's interference was likely instigated, or at least fueled, by a recent European Union push to put an economic choke hold on the Jewish settlements.