Critical Israeli diplomatic positions remain unstaffed

Prime Minister Netanyahu preoccupied with political crisis, repeatedly postpones meeting with the foreign minister to decide on political appointments to diplomatic postings unmanned for months

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is neck deep in the selection process for the Judicial Selection Committee and heavily involved in the attempt to keep the judicial reform talks between the coalition and the opposition alive, important matters such as the appointment of ambassadors and heads of Israeli missions abroad are being pushed aside.
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A meeting that was scheduled for Monday between Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to name appointees to three important diplomatic positions - the ambassador to France, the Consul General in New York, and the ambassador to Ethiopia - was postponed until next week, but it is uncertain whether any decisions to the political postings would be decided then.
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שר החוץ אלי כהן עם שרת החוץ של גרמניה, אנאלנה ברבוק בברלין
שר החוץ אלי כהן עם שרת החוץ של גרמניה, אנאלנה ברבוק בברלין
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen
(Photo: Reuters, Yonatan Zindel)
While most diplomatic posts are decided by the Foreign Ministry's professional officials, the ruling coalition has the right to appoint a diplomat to those three embassies.
Paris has not had a permanent Israeli ambassador since Yael German, appointed by then Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, returned to Israel in March, nearly four months after her resignation over her public criticism of the new government's policies. French diplomats humorously call the Israeli embassy in Paris the "rule of the stand-ins" after a succession of officials were sent in to temporarily head the mission.
Member of Knesset for the ruling Likud, Boaz Bismut was reportedly offered the job by the prime minister but has hesitated in his response and the search for the Paris post is still unresolved. Foreign ministry officials said Bismuth was concerned that his position in the Likud party would be lost if he were to move to France.
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ישיבת ממשלה
ישיבת ממשלה
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzahi Braverman, head of the Government Secretariat
(Photo: AFP)
The appointment of Consul General in New York, another highly coveted diplomatic position, is also stuck. Since the end of March, following the resignation of Asaf Zamirwho was also appointed by the previous government and has clashed with the current coalition over the judicial overhaul, the envoy's position which is vital to Israel's relations with the American Jewish community and the media, is in the hands of a temporary replacement.
The possible appointment of May Golan, an outspoken supporter of Netanyahu but also a lawmaker who has made blatantly racist remarks against asylum seekers, was leaked to the press, but her candidacy was dropped, after the formal opposition from the Biden administration. Caroline Glick, a right-wing American-born journalist, also saw her candidacy dropped after making a series of controversial statements against U.S. President Joe Biden.
Tzahi Braverman, Netanyahu's close aide who is head of the Government Secretariat, was repeatedly reported to be considered for the post but he himself strongly denied he was a candidate. One minister told Ynet that Netanyahu would not rush to appoint someone to be consul general in New York and would wait for a suitable candidate to be found.
Meanwhile, a third position also unmanned, is that of the Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia. Aleligne Admasu, who was appointed by former Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, will complete his term at the end of March 2024 and his replacement should be named at this time. But at the moment, there are no known candidates for the position.
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