Israel won an election to head the Legal Committee of the United Nations last Monday (13 June); this is the first time ever that Israel is going to chair a permanent committee of the United Nations.
Although the position is largely symbolic and has mere procedural roles, chairing the committee will give Israel a chance to have a higher profile in routine affairs at the United Nations.
The General Assembly of the United Nations has six standing committees that report to it, on: disarmament, economic and financial issues, human rights, decolonization, the U.N. budget, and legal issues. The UN Legal Committee, or the Sixth Committee, oversees issues related to international law.
Normally committee heads are elected by consensus without a vote. Opponents to the Israeli candidacy called for a vote. The chief Palestinian delegate at the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, complained about the results of the election, saying Arab and Muslim countries had tried to prevent an Israeli victory.