Netanyahu’s U.S.-born chief of staff appointed Israeli Cabinet secretary

(JTA) – David Sharan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s U.S.-born chief of staff, will be the Israeli Cabinet’s next secretary.

The appointment was announced Monday, according to Israeli media reports. Sharan will manage the work of the 20-member Cabinet, which includes ministers from Israel’s soon-to-be six coalition parties and which votes on government policy. Sharan will also co-ordinate the work of the smaller security Cabinet, which deals with matters of war and peace. 

He will replace Avichai Mandelblit, whose term ended in January. Sharan, who graduated from high school in Los Angeles, according to The Times of Israel, was previously chief of staff to Yuval Steinitz, a Likud minister and confidant of Netanyahu.

In April, Netanyahu tapped Sharan to run reopened negotiations on an agreement to expand the non-Orthodox prayer plaza at the Western Wall. Mandelblit had led the negotiations that led to the agreement, which was approved by the Cabinet on Jan. 31. Netanyahu reopened the deal for talks following protests by his haredi Orthodox coalition partners, who object to non-Orthodox prayer at the site.

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