Michael Oren Joins Kahlon's Kulanu Party

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren will be joining Moshe Kahlon, the Kulanu party head announced Wednesday.

Moshe Cohen ,

Michael Oren
Michael Oren

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren will be joining Moshe Kahlon, the Kulanu party head announced Wednesday. Kahlon courted Oren, he said, because of his “responsible political positions, which are an important strategic objective for Israel.”

Oren's diplomatic finesse would be necessary to restore Israel's standing in the international arena, Kahlon said at a press conference honoring his new member. “Unfortunately Israel's true friends are distancing themselves from her, unlike in the past. Enhancing diplomatic relations with countries around the world will lead to enhanced relations in the economic, security, and strategic spheres. Dr. Michael Oren is the worthiest person to lead the realization of the ambitions of our party in this area,” he added.

Speaking at the event, Oren said that he was joining Kulanu to “take responsibility. Israel finds itself in a stormy international arena at this time. We must chart our course responsibly and bravely, in order to attain our goal of becoming a strong, democratic Jewish state that is prosperous and welcome around the world. I cannot stand on the side and do nothing as we find ourselves under diplomatic attack. We must take our fates in our own hands.”

Neither Kahlon nor Oren mentioned the name of Binyamin Netanyahu, but they did speak of what critics of the Prime Minister have called his tendency to rub the Americans the wrong way. “I understand how critical our relations with the American are,” Oren said. “They are critical for our very existence, and we cannot lose them. There is no other option for Israel than the United States, and our relationship with it is the most important one Israel can have. The U.S. is not just the supplier of important defense systems like Iron Dome, but it is a partner with us in the democratic principles and in the effort to defend us. Now more than ever it should be clear that relations with the U.S. are a basic ingredient of Israel's economy, security, and foreign policy. We must immediately take steps to enhance those relations.”

Oren is seen as very middle of the road politically, and is likely to be Kulanu's main spokesperson for the party's position on the peace process. Speaking earlier this month at the Saban Forum in Washington, Oren said that “The Left in Israel has crashed, because it has not yet internalized that the Palestinians are not part of the negotiations, and aren't interested in being so. The Palestinians have chosen a different path, the destructive path of delegitimization of Israel.

"On the other hand, the Right doesn't yet have the courage to admit that Israel isn't able to protect its identity and its alliance with the US, while ruling 2.5 million Palestinians," Oren continued. "Inaction isn't an option. Israel needs to take its fate into its own hands, and to come out with a political initiative that will serve its interests," he insisted.