Misezhnikov in Spain
Photo: Amnon Lieberman

Embassy in Madrid calls Minister Misezhnikov's visit 'embarrassing'

Staffers at Israeli embassy say minister spent a night on the town after canceling participation in important dinner, was late to arrive at Toledo church that was closed down to accommodate his entourage

The Israeli Embassy in Madrid criticized Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov for cancelling his appearance at a dinner he was supposed to share with more than 50 businessmen and for allegedly being late to an event in Toledo.


Misezhnikov called the accusations "borderline slander".


The minister arrived in Spain last week to attend an international tourism fair in Madrid, hold meetings with his Spanish counterpart, and to sign a number of tourism agreements in Portugal.


During his visit Misezhnikov took part in a local ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which he claimed lasted more than two-and-a-half hours despite being told that it would last only a half-hour.


According to Gil Gidron, president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Spain and Israel, less than an hour before the scheduled dinner, the minister notified the Israeli envoy to Madrid that he would not be able to attend, saying he was too tired.


Gidron said the minister's behavior was harmful to Israel and reflects badly on its tourism industry.


In another incident, Misezhnikov was late to arrive at a church in Toledo, which was closed to visitors for two hours to accommodate the minister's entourage.


Israeli officials said that at this point the visit became a diplomatic and personal embarrassment, adding that Misezhnikov's visit was replete with nightly outings, including on the night he was supposed to attend the dinner.


The minister's aides said the accusations were a response to the criticism Misezhnikov leveled at Israeli Ambassador to Spain Rafi Schotz and embassy staffers upon his return to Israel.


"The minister was unable to attend the dinner due to exhaustion and lack of planning (on the embassy's part)," one of the aides said.


As for the visit to Toledo, Misezhnikov's aides said the church was informed ahead of time that the minister would be late. 


פרסום ראשון: 02.01.10, 00:33
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