They’re supposed to represent Israel on the international stage, but with budgets slashed and roles diminished, the members of the diplomatic corps are turning to Jewish communties in their host nations to pay for travel and other expenses.
One such ambassador is Eyal Sela, the Jerusalem-based envoy to Slovenia. Sela visits the country to which he is assigned every few months, but because of budget cuts, he barely makes these visits.
Sela is soon supposed to fly to Slovenia for a policy meeting and various other events, and the trip is being paid for by the Slovenian Jewish community.
Similarly, Mark Sofer, Israel's ambassador to Australia, recently visited Perth courtesy of the local Jewish community.
In another instance, Dan Oryan, the Israeli ambassador to North Macedonia, recently flew to his assigned country on a trip paid for by an Israeli association to advance people with disabilities.
During his visit, Oryan opened an exhibition called "Jump Together," which aims to include disabled people in everyday life.
The financial woes at the Foreign Ministry means anyone who needs to take a trip as part of their job must first have it approved by Jerusalem. But due to the lack of funding, almost all ambassadorial trips have been frozen and the visits by ministry personnel abroad have been all but cancelled.
The only way to circumvent this issue is with external funding and some in the Foreign Ministry say this phenomenon is only growing.
Nizar Amer, the acting spokesperson at the Foreign Ministry, said in response: " Diplomatic representatives are from time to time invited to venues outside of their offices, and sometimes, in line with procedure, the host covers the expenses of the diplomats' trips."