Danny Danon

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Danny Danon
ח"כ דני דנון.jpg
Danon in August 2012
17th Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations
Assumed office
17 August 2015
President Reuven Rivlin
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Ron Prosor
22nd Ministry of Science, Technology and Space
In office
14 May 2015 – 27 August 2015
President Reuven Rivlin
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Preceded by Yaakov Peri
Succeeded by Ofir Akunis
Personal details
Born (1971-05-08) 8 May 1971 (age 47)
Ramat Gan, Israel
Nationality Israeli
Political party Likud
Alma mater Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Knessets 18, 19, 20
Faction represented in Knesset
2009–2015 Likud
Ministerial roles
2015 Minister of Science, Technology and Space

Danny Danon (Hebrew: דני דנון, born 8 May 1971), is Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Danon previously served a member of the Knesset from the Likud Party, as Minister of Science, Technology and Space and as Deputy Minister of Defense. During his term in the 18th Knesset, Danon served as Deputy Speaker, Chair of the Special Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Chair of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs. In June 2016 Danon was elected as chair of the UN’s Legal Committee, the first Israeli to ever hold the position.[1]

Early life[edit]

Danon was born in Ramat Gan to Yosef and Yoheved Danon. He attended Blich High School and was a member of the Betar youth movement. He earned a Bachelor's degree in international affairs from the Florida International University, and a Master's degree in public policy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After his national service in the IDF between 1994 and 1996, Danon was sent to Miami by the Jewish Agency.[2]

Political career[edit]

In 1996, he was appointed assistant to Likud MK Uzi Landau. Later on he was appointed the Chairman of the World Betar organization for a few years. Prior to the 2006 elections, Danon won 23rd spot on Likud's list in the party primaries. However, the party won only 12 seats, and Danon did not enter the Knesset.[2] In June 2006, after beating MK Yuval Steinitz, Danon was elected Chairman of the World Likud organization.[3] Danon was active against Prime-Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan during the referendum conducted by the latter in the Likud party's central committee.

In July 2007, Danon, described as one of Benjamin Netanyahu's biggest critics from within the Likud, declared his candidacy for the Likud leadership elections.[4] He eventually finished third. In 2008, Danon filed a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice to rescind the citizenship of former MK Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel after he was suspected of aiding Hezbollah, an enemy organization of Israel, during the 2006 Lebanon War. The petition was rejected.

Prior to the 2009 elections he won twenty-fourth place on the Likud list, and entered the Knesset as the party won 27 seats. He became a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. In an August 2011 interview with Teymoor Nabili on Al Jazeera English, Mr. Danon said "There is place only for one state on the land of Israel.... I do not believe in a two-state solution."[5]

After being re-elected in 2013, Danon was appointed as Deputy Minister of Defense in Netanyahu's government. However, on 15 July 2014 Danon was fired from the position by Netanyahu after publicly criticizing Netanyahu's handling of Operation Protective Edge.[6][7]

Danon submitted his candidacy for the 2014 Likud leadership election on 8 December 2014.[8] The only candidate to run against Netanyahu, he received 19% of the votes. After retaining his Knesset seat in the 2015 elections, Danon was appointed Minister of Science, Technology and Space in Netanyahu's new government.

On 14 August 2015, Danon was appointed by Netanyahu to be Israel's envoy to the UN replacing Ron Prosor.[9] He stepped down as a Knesset member and minister later in the month.

In June 2016 Danon was elected as chairman of the U.N. Legal Committee, making him the first Israeli chosen to head a permanent committee of the U.N.[10][11]

Public service[edit]

Member of the Likud Party[edit]

Danon’s time as an emissary for the Jewish Agency had a big impact on his life; it was the first stepping stone in his choice to enter public service.

Upon his return to Israel, Danon served as an adviser to the Chair of the Knesset Foreign affairs and Defense Committee, MK Uzi Landau.

When he was 28 years old, Danon was elected Chair of the World Betar Movement. His responsibilities included managing the administrative, financial, and educational aspects of the organization in Israel and abroad, and encouraging aliyah.

From 2004 to 2009, Danon served as the chairman of the Likud faction in the World Zionist Organization. His responsibilities included encouraging aliyah to Israel and combatting Antisemitism. Danon also served on the board of directors of the Jewish Agency, establishing policy, goals and monitoring the work of the Agency.

During the internal primary elections for the Likud Party slate in 2006, Danon was elected to the twenty-third place. In the general elections for the 17th Knesset the Likud only won twelve seats, and Danon did not enter the Knesset. Later that year, Danon ran against MK Yuval Steinitz for the position of Chairman of the World Likud.[12] In this new role Danon assumed responsibility for the Likud’s Israel-advocacy activities, the movement’s international relations, and focused on building relationships with pro-Israel communities around the world.

In the 2007 Likud leadership race Danon ran against Benjamin Netanyahu and Moshe Feiglin. Benjamin Netanyahu won the election.

Member of the 18th Knesset[edit]

On December 8, 2008, Danon was elected to the twenty-fourth place on the Likud slate for the upcoming election. In the general elections the Likud party won twenty-seven seats, and Danon was sworn in as a Member of the Knesset.

During this term, MK Danon served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset,[13] Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Chair of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs. These positions presented Danon with the opportunities promote legislation in a variety fields.

In addition to the committees that he chaired, Danon was also a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Finance Committee, the Education, Culture, and Sports Committee, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

Legislation that Danon promoted included laws granting widows (including those who remarried) of fallen Israeli security personnel and terror attack victims the rights to receive grants from the government.[14] He also promoted a law in which ensured that pardoned convicts who committed a crime during their parole period would automatically be re-imprisoned.[15] In addition, Danon passed a law that limited the promotion and advertisement of alcoholic beverages,[16] and a law that set minimum weight requirements for the modeling industry and required advertisers to disclose whether Photoshop was used in their ads.[17]

Member of the 19th Knesset- Deputy Minister of Defense[edit]

In the Likud internal primaries for the 19th Knesset, Danon won the fifth place, and on March 17, 2013, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Defense.

During his term, Danon focused on increasing enlistment to the IDF from the Christian, and the Ultra-orthodox and Ethiopian Jewish communities, bettering the service conditions of reservists, establishing criteria for financial benefits for the security forces, and decreasing the number of military drop-outs.

In June 2013, Danon was elected Chair of the Likud Party Central Committee, with 85% of the votes.

On July 15, 2014, Danon was dismissed from his position by Prime Minister Netanyahu after publicly criticizing his conduct and his willingness to accept a truce with Hamas during Operation Protective Edge.[18]

Later that year, in December 2014, Danon placed 9th in the Likud’s internal primary elections. After the Likud victory in the general elections for the 20th Knesset, Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed Danon to his cabinet to the position of Minister of Science, Technology and Space.[19]

Member of the 20th Knesset- Minister of Science, Technology and Space[edit]

One of the first decisions Danon made after his appointment as Minister of Science, Technology and Space, was to designate the upcoming year as the year of Pioneering Women in Science and Technology. Danon also led efforts to increase awareness for science, technology and space amongst the residents of developing cities in Israel, by increasing the number of science-focused summer camps. Minister Danon led negotiations with the Ministry of Finance and succeeded in increasing his Ministry’s budget by 20%.

During his time in office Danon dealt with strengthening ties and cooperation between countries and companies around the world. In June 2015 he signed a cooperation agreement with Lockheed Martin on promoting science, technology and space among children. He also visited the Sesame Particle Accelerator in Jordan, which Israel is participating in, to broaden the cooperation.

Danon served in this position till August 27, 2015, when Prime Minister Netanyahu appointed him as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN.[20]

Permanent Representative to the UN[edit]

Danny Danon became Israel’s Ambassador and Permanent representative to the UN in October 2015.[21] At that time a wave of terrorist attack struck Israel, and the situation in Israel made its way to UN discussions.[22] Danon’s first speech took place at the Security Council’s meeting on the Situation in Israel. The Palestinian representative to the UN, Riyad Mansour, interrupted Danon’s speech, violating protocol. In a Security Council meeting on the same issue in April 2015, Danon accused the Palestinian representative for failing to condemn terror.[23]

Ambassador Danon has visited Israel with the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon,[24] where they visited Israelis wounded in the recent wave of terror attacks, and met with the wife of late Richard Lakin, who was brutally stabbed in a terror attack in the capital's Armon Hanatziv neighborhood. Danon visited Israel again with US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, where they toured Israel by helicopter and were briefed on the security challenges Israel faces.[25]

During Danon’s term as Permanent representative, the Israeli Mission marked several notable achievements including: Recognition of Yom Kippur as an Official UN holiday,[26] Acceptance to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS),[27] ZAKA and Access Israel, both Israeli NGOs, received consultative status at the UN,[28][29] an Israeli UN resolution on Agricultural Technologies for Sustainable Development was adopted by the UN General Assembly,[30] US Secretary of State, John Kerry attended an event marking 40 years since Chaim Herzog’s historic UN speech,[31] Israel held the first ever international summit at the UN against BDS,[32] and Ambassador Danon became the first ever Israeli representative to chair a main UN committee.[33]

His time as envoy to the UN was also characterized by victories over the UN’s treatment of Israel. After 8 months that the UN refused to Condemn the wave of terror in Israel, Including a statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that it is “Human Nature to react to occupation,[34]” On June 9, both the Secretary General[35] and the Security Council[36] condemned terror in Israel for the first time following the Attack in the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv. In addition, Danon marked another victory, when an exhibit about Israel what was partially censored for its panels about Jerusalem and Zionism, was later displayed fully following pressure and diplomatic efforts by Ambassador Danon.

Views on conflict with Palestinians[edit]

In 2013, Danon asserted that the Likud party has no place for anyone supporting a peace agreement with the Palestinians. He is opposed to a two-state solution. He argues for extending Israeli sovereignty over the majority of the West Bank, 'with the minimum number of Palestinians.'[37][38]

In May 2011, Danon wrote an opinion published in the New York Times where he advocated that Israel annex all West Bank settlements and "uninhabited areas". He concluded that Israel would bear no responsibility to Palestinians in the West Bank, who would live in their own "unannexed" towns and that this solution would avert the "threat to the Jewish and democratic status of Israel by a growing Palestinian population".[39]

Danon has made controversial comments suggesting Israel should undertake punitive attacks and action against civilian infrastructure and civilians. On 10 November 2011, in a Facebook post, he stated "for every missile that falls in our southern towns, we retaliate by deleting a neighborhood in Gaza".[40][41] In July 2014, after the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, Danon was quoted as saying "If we don't get the soldier back within a few hours we should start levelling Gaza."[42][43] In July 2014, Danon advocated cutting off all electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza to induce Hamas to request a cease-fire.[44][45]


Danon published his first book in September 2012 entitled "Israel: the Will to Prevail.” The book analyzes the Israel-US relationship, and presents alternative approaches to the conventional wisdom on negotiating peace between Israelis and Palestinians.


  1. ^ "In first for Israel, Danon elected chairman of UN Legal Committee". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  2. ^ a b Paz, Shelly (2009-02-05). "On the cusp". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  3. ^ Betar chair trounces MK Steinitz in World Likud poll Haaretz, 19 June 2006
  4. ^ Danon joins race for Likud leadership Jerusalem Post, 13 July 2007
  5. ^ Danny Danon talks to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera, 5 August 2011
  6. ^ Netanyahu fires Danon for critical remarks Yedioth Acharonoth, 15 July 2014
  7. ^ Danon says criticism of negligent handling of Hamas tunnels led to ouster The Jerusalem Post, 28 September 2014
  8. ^ "Danny Danon submits candidacy for Likud leadership". Times of Israel. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Netanyahu appoints Danny Danon as Israel's envoy to the UN". The Jerusalem Post. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "mideast shorts | j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California". Jweekly.com. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  11. ^ Winer, Stuart (2016-06-13). "In first, Israel elected to head a permanent UN committee". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2016-06-19. 
  12. ^ "Danon re-elected World Likud chairman". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  13. ^ "Knesset Member Danon Danny". www.knesset.gov.il. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  14. ^ "Knesset Passes IDF Widows' Law". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  15. ^ "MK Danon promises to push Hamas privileges bill". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  16. ^ "MK Danon: Alchohol Advertising Law Will Prevent Abuse - Latest News Briefs - Arutz Sheva". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  17. ^ "New law bans use of underweight models in ads". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2016-06-22. 
  18. ^ "Netanyahu fires Danny Danon over criticism of Gaza war". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  19. ^ "Danny Danon Appointed Minister of Science, Technology and Space - Latest News Briefs - Arutz Sheva". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  20. ^ Ravid, Barak (2015-08-14). "Netanyahu to Appoint Danny Danon as Israel's Next UN Envoy". Haaretz. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  21. ^ "How Danny Danon Went From Israel's Rebel to Top Diplomat". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  22. ^ "12 UN Security Council resolutions against terror - 0 for Israel". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  23. ^ "Israeli, Palestinian envoys turn UN meet into shouting match". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  24. ^ "Ban Ki-moon making surprise Israel trip to calm tensions". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  25. ^ "US ambassador to the UN hears tales of rocket fire from Israeli mothers". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  26. ^ CNN, Tal Trachtman Alroy. "U.N. recognizes Yom Kippur as official holiday". CNN. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  27. ^ "Israel accepted to UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space 29 Oct 2015". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  28. ^ "UN gives ZAKA official consultant status". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  29. ^ "Access Israel Organization was granted the status of a 'Special Adviser' to the UN's Economic and Social Committee!". www.aisrael.org. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  30. ^ "Agricultural Technology for Sustainable Development among Eight Texts Approved by Second Committee | Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". www.un.org. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  31. ^ Section, United Nations News Service. "UN News Centre - Remarks to Event Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Chaim Herzog's Speech Against General Assembly Resolution 3379 Equating Zionism with Racism". UN News Service Section. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  32. ^ Yaakov. "At UN Summit, Israel Ambassador, World Jewish Leader Slam 'Infected' International Body for Backing BDS". Algemeiner.com. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  33. ^ "In first, Israel elected to head a permanent UN committee". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  34. ^ Press, The Associated (2016-01-26). "UN's Ban on Palestinian Violence: It Is 'Human Nature' to React to Occupation". Haaretz. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  35. ^ Section, United Nations News Service (2016-06-08). "UN News - UN chief condemns deadly terrorist attack in Tel Aviv". UN News Service Section. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  36. ^ "UN Security Council condemns Tel Aviv terror attack". Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  37. ^ David Horowitz, 'Danny Danon, dismally, is the true face of Netanyahu’s Israel,' Times of Israel 14 August 2015.
  38. ^ Kalman, Aaron (September 4, 2013). "Supporters of peace deal have no place in Likud, says MK". Times of Israel. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  39. ^ Danon, Danny (May 18, 2011). "Making the Land of Israel Whole". New York Times. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  40. ^ Likud MK: “Delete” Gaza neighborhood for each rocket fired +972 Magazine, November 10, 2011
  41. ^ The Party Faithful, The New Yorker, January 21, 2013
  42. ^ "MK Danon to Ynet: If the soldier isn't returned, 'we should start leveling Gaza'". Ynetnews. Yedioth Media Group. August 1, 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  43. ^ "The brutal kidnap that killed off hopes of peace in Gaza". Daily Mail. Daily Mail. July 31, 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  44. ^ "Deputy defense minister demands Israel cut off fuel, electricity supply to Gaza". Jerusalem Post. July 9, 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 
  45. ^ "Minister Campaigns to Cut Electricity to Gaza". Israel National News. Arutz Sheva. July 9, 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 

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