Israel’s Growing Influence at the UN

Despite criticism over Gaza war, majority of nations back Israel’s election to important council position

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: United Nations
Photo: Amir Levy/FLASH90

Israel was elected for the first time ever to serve as a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the six major UN bodies, which include: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.

The decision was supported by 153 countries. In order to win the prestigious seat, Israel was required to obtain a majority of at least two-thirds of the UN membership. The Israeli achievement, which comes at a very difficult political time after the Gaza operation, was made possible thanks to a broad effort by Ambassador Gilad Erdan and the delegation to the UN, the Foreign Ministry, and Israeli embassies around the world.

The UN has three councils that address all issues under the UN: the Security Council, the Human Rights Council and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Economic and Social Council deals with all economic, development and environmental issues, as well as a variety of humanitarian issues. The ECOSOC is also responsible for approving the action plans of professional committees operating under it on a variety of issues, such as the Committee for the Status of Women, the Statistics Committee, the Committee for NGOs, the Drug Treatment Committee, the Population and Development Committee, the Forestry Forum, and more.

The ECOSOC has only 54 member countries (out of the 193 UN member states) and Israel has been elected to the Council as part of its candidacy on behalf of a group of Western European and other countries (WEOG).

 

One of several Israeli achievements

In the past year, Israel has made unprecedented achievements at the UN, among them:

  • The election of an Israeli diplomat to serve as deputy chairman of the Judiciary Committee;
  • The election of Odelia Fitoussi to serve on the Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities with the support of 109 countries (including some Arab countries);
  • The adoption of Israel’s resolution to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation by an unprecedented majority of 144 countries; and
  • As now reported – Israel’s election for the first time ever to be a member of the UN Economic and Social Council.

Ambassador Gilad Erdan: “Choosing Israel to serve on the ECOSOC is a recognition of our innovation and creativity, which serves to benefit all nations of the world, as well as evidence of our diplomatic efforts throughout the international community, I will continue to lead the State of Israel to further achievements and to expand cooperation efforts at the UN, despite efforts by the Palestinians and their supporters.”