Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren was appointed deputy minister of the Prime Minister’s Office and head of Israel’s public diplomacy, The Times of Israel reported Monday. The move comes as part of a cabinet reshuffle involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and Kulanu, the second-largest party in the governing coalition.
Oren, who served as Israel’s envoy to Washington from 2009 to 2013, joined the nascent Kulanu party in 2014. While Oren’s new duties remain unclear, it is likely that he will play a supporting role to Netanyahu, who continues to act as foreign minister.
Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, who currently serves as finance minister, will also assume the economy portfolio. Ze’ev Elkin of Likud, who is acting as Jerusalem Minister of Affairs, will take over the Environmental Protection Ministry. Employment matters, which had previously been part of the Economy Ministry, will now be transferred to the Welfare Ministry, currently headed by the Likud’s Haim Katz.
In May, Netanyahu brought in the Yisrael Beiteinu party to stabilize his governing coalition, and made its head, Avigdor Lieberman, the cabinet’s defense minister. Lieberman replaced Likud’s Moshe Ya’alon, who subsequently left the government.