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Netanyahu offers post of Israel’s consul general in New York to May Golan who calls herself ‘proud to be racist’

The right-wing lawmaker with a history of controversial remarks, sparking concern that her appointment could strain U.S.-Israeli relations

This article originally appeared on Haaretz, and was reprinted here with permission. Sign up here to get Haaretz’s free Daily Brief newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered the soon-to-be vacant position of Israeli consul general in New York to controversial Likud lawmaker May Golan.

Golan, who is considered one of the most ardent supporters of Justice Minister Yariv Levin and his planned judicial coup, would take over from Asaf Zamir, who resigned last month after warning U.S. Jewish donors against the government’s attempts to overhaul the judiciary. If Golan accepts the offer, she will have to resign from the Knesset, which would been seen as a possible setback for Levin’s camp and would come at a very sensitive time – with the prime minister supposed to decide on the future of the reform and perhaps even compromise over some of its elements.

Sources in Likud confirmed details of the proposal, which was first published by Channel 12 News on Wednesday evening. A subsequent statement issued by Likud, however, claimed that “the offer was made to Golan because of her excellent public diplomacy skills in English. Contrary to some claims, the offer has nothing to do with Justice Minister Levin, whom the prime minister values and counts on more than anyone else.”

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Given Golan’s known hatred for refugees, her resentment toward leftists and her hostility toward feminists – in 2017 she called described “radical feminism as a hate movement” – she would likely be given a very frosty reception by the liberal Jewish community in New York. During her activist days, when she spearheaded rallies against African “infiltrators” in Tel Aviv, May proclaimed that, “If I’m racist in order to preserve my life, then I’m proud to be racist.”

Golan was originally appointed minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and the cabinet recently approved her appointment as the head of a new ministry dedicated to advancing the status of women. The new position for Golan, who is currently in the United States, was due to be ratified by the Knesset on Wednesday, but the vote was postponed.

Zamir resigned immediately after Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. A week early, he came out against the judicial coup while addressing the Jewish Museum’s annual fundraising gala, which gathers more than 900 significant donors from New York’s corporate, social and cultural communities.

“I’m deeply concerned about the direction the country is going in right now. If you want to have the national home and to be everyone’s home, it really must be democratic,” Zamir said to applause.

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