Israel's future ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer
has yet to assume the prestigious role, but has already started off on the wrong foot. Dermer's appointment was approved by the government last week, a period of time in which Dermer has already wrangled with Foreign Ministry
officials when he handed a list of demands that would not shame a senior minister.
Among his demands, Dermer requested to replace his entire staff and bring three of his workers from Israel
– even though the ambassador to Washington
is not granted his choice of staff.
Dermer requested to bring along Josh Hantman, a foreign press spokesman for Israel's Defense Ministry, as his personal adviser, as well as another employee from the Prime Minister's Office. Foreign Ministry officials explained that he is not entitled to bring workers with him since there is no availability for the positions he is requesting.
Dermer also demanded to replace the official residence of the Israeli ambassador to Washington, which has served Israeli ambassadors in the capital for years. The future ambassador has five children, and claims the current residence is too small for them, and therefore he requests a larger apartment.
Another requirement that raised a few eyebrows was his demand to assume duties as early as September 1, even though it was agreed with outgoing ambassador Michael Oren he will return to Israel only at the end of September. According to diplomatic procedures, the incoming and outgoing ambassadors to a certain country cannot be in that country at the same time.
However, Dermer said he wishes to arrive in the United States on September 1 in order to allow his children to start the upcoming school year. The Foreign Ministry responded that in such case, he must either convince Ambassador Oren to return to Israel ahead of time or request a special allowance from the Americans to let two Israeli ambassadors' time in the country coincide – an unprecedented situation.
A senior Foreign Ministry source said that "Dermer thinks he is a minister who deserves appointing whomever he likes around him and not trust the diplomats already employed at the embassy."
Dermer did not respond to Yedioth Ahronoth queries on the matter.
Meanwhile, more issues arose in the manning of the Washington embassy. Incoming delegate Eran Etzion, who was supposed to arrive at Washington two weeks ago, postponed his arrival at the very last minute, and his farewell party was canceled. At the same time, ministry sources reported that Etzion postponed his arrival by at least a month. Etzion's post in Washington is the second most important position at the embassy, and it is unmanned at the moment.
Foreign Ministry officials estimated that Dermer and Etzion will have trouble working together due to their opposite political worldviews: Dermer is a Right-winger, while Etzion served as the assistant to former Foreign Ministry Director General Uri Savir during the Oslo Accords.
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