The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem
Photo: Gil Yohanan
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem

Foreign Ministry officials say new minister Ashkenazi brings welcomed change

After years of being marginalized and having budgets severely cut by the government, Foreign Ministry officials say they are now involved in all major policy discussions and enjoy the faith of their peers overseas

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 06.17.20 , 23:34
Foreign Ministry sources reported on Wednesday that the ministry has seen a much-needed improvement in funding from the government after only one month under the leadership of the new minister, Blue & White's Gabi Ashkenazi.
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  • "Money is allocated and we are back on the map," the source said confirming that NIS 50 million were allotted to finance activity until the end of the 2020 fiscal year.
    The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem
    The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
    According to a report issued last month by State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman, government agencies and ministries have been operating without the Foreign Ministry and even behind Foreign Ministry staff's back while the operational budget in 2019 saw its largest cut yet, affecting Israeli envoys' ability to carry out their duties and advance Israeli policies in the international arena.
    מחאת עובדי משרד החוץמחאת עובדי משרד החוץ
    Foreign Ministry employees protest budget cuts
    The ministry currently mainly focuses on U.S. President Trump's Mideast peace plan, the proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank, and the Iranian threat to Israel's security.
    The source also noted that the working relationship between the Foreign Ministry and the defense establishment, including the IDF, Mossad, the Shin Bet Security Agency, and the National Security Council, has improved.
    Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has not given many interviews since assuming office, but officials say he has brought a new and positive atmosphere to the ministry after years of despondence, in which the foreign service was marginalized.
    גבי אשכנזי ומקבילו הגרמני הייקו מאסגבי אשכנזי ומקבילו הגרמני הייקו מאס
    Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (right) and German counterpart Heiko Maas
    (Photo: AFP)
    Ashkenazi has already reached out to 30 of his counterparts around the world. "People have faith in our foreign service again," one official said.
    Foreign Ministry personnel also attended all meetings during German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas' visit to Israel last week, after being excluded from official meetings for years.
    Another official said the ministry is maintaining a close working relationship with the National Security Council, "We are no longer left out of meetings on subjects of national importance."
    Ministry staff says the allotted budget for overseas envoys remains a sore point and hope the new minister would be able to increase the budget to include the necessary funds for emissaries to carry out their duties.
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