It seems Israeli ambassador to Australia Naftali Tamir will find himself on a plane home sooner than he originally planned. Tamir's term as ambassador will be cut short by the Foreign Ministry following the publication in Haaretz newspaper of racist comments attributed to the ambassador, referring to Asian natives as the "yellow race".
The Foreign Ministry confirmed that a tender will be issued in the coming weeks. Tamir began his term in January 2005, the issuing of a tender to find his replacement would effectively cut his original Australian term short.
An immediate inquiry was conducted following the Haaretz publication. A senior official from within the Foreign Ministry said that "the ambassador denied the quotes attributed to him when they were first published by the newspaper. He reiterated his denial at every point during the internal inquiry. The ambassador will return to his post on Wednesday."
In the interview given to Haaretz three weeks ago Tamir stated: ""Israel and Australia are like sisters in Asia. We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don't have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not - we are basically the white race.""Grave and unacceptable," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attributed quotes, saying that the ministry "will not pass over this in silence."