Atilla Somfalvi
October 27, 2010 - 12:00am,7340,L-3975950,00.html

Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan is expected to be appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, senior Likud officials said on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman supported the decision, which ended a months-long dispute between him an Netanyahu over the appointment.

Erdan, a lawyer by profession, is in his first term as a minister, and is considered a conservative member of the Likud. Born in southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, he made his debut in the political arena as student at Bar Ilan University, when he participated in protests against the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.

Before he was elected to the Knesset, Erdan served as an aide to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He has also served as a Netanyahu aide in past administrations, and headed the Public Petitions Committee.

Erdan was first elected to the Knesset in 2003, and during that term he rejected an offer to become a UN ambassador. He was one of the most prominent politicians to speak out against the Gaza pullout, and later lead an opposition group within Likud before Kadima broke away from the party.

As part of his public service, Erdan served as the CEO of Al Sam, an association that battles drug and alcohol abuse. He stirred up controversy in 2007 with initiatives to ban smoking in public places and require bicycle riders to wear helmets, both of which were approved by the Knesset.


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