The flags of the United States, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are projected on a section of the walls surrounding Jerusalem's Old City
The flags of the United States, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain projected on a section of the walls surrounding Jerusalem's Old City
Photo: Reuters
The flags of the United States, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain projected on a section of the walls surrounding Jerusalem's Old City

The year 2020 breathes new life into Foreign Ministry

While PM worked tirelessly to bury the ministry in previous years, it was rejuvenated once Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi took the helm and its staff experienced a professional renaissance

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 09.17.20 , 22:59
This year was a year marred with political paralysis and over-saturated with three election rounds, yet it ended with a dramatic breakthrough - a normalization agreement with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
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  • This stupendous achievement - which does not fall short of the peace agreements signed with both Egypt and Jordan in 1979 and 1994 respectively - was led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    The flags of the United States, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are projected on a section of the walls surrounding Jerusalem's Old CityThe flags of the United States, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are projected on a section of the walls surrounding Jerusalem's Old City
    The flags of the United States, Israel, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain projected on a section of the walls surrounding Jerusalem's Old City
    (Photo: Reuters)
    This achievement is also proof that there is a breath of fresh air blowing through the halls of Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
    A tinge of Irony can be felt when talking about the Foreign Ministry’s achievement in regards to the agreements - since it was Netanyahu who brought on this international achievement, but it was also Netanyahu who effectively buried the ministry in prior years.
    Netanyahu and his underlings - who have effectively become an alternative for the Foreign Ministry at some point - have worked meticulously for years to bury the ministry, and turn its diplomats into pale shades of their former professional selves.
    They were regularly excluded, only exposed to any diplomatic developments through the media, and managed by the premier's trustees whose sole purpose was to appease the Netanyahu and his family.
    L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates; and Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates; and Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain
    (L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates; and Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Bahrain
    (Photo: EPA)
    However, the ministry was rejuvenated once Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi took the helm and its staff experienced a professional renaissance akin to a phoenix rising from its ashes.
    Both Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz were excluded from the agreement. Netanyahu actually compared them to the Iraninan threat, saying they would have torpedoed the agreements into oblivion if they knew about it sooner.
    Despite this, both Gantz and Ashkenazi braved through the accusations, and sent Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz, together with a team of ministry diplomats, who took a key part in the talks with the UAE.
    An Emirati official stands near an air-plane of El Al, which carried a US-Israeli delegation to the UAE following a normalisation accord, upon it's arrival at the Abu Dhabi airportAn Emirati official stands near an air-plane of El Al, which carried a US-Israeli delegation to the UAE following a normalisation accord, upon it's arrival at the Abu Dhabi airport
    An Emirati official stands near an El Al airplane in Abu Dhabi
    (Photo: AFP)
    Another one of the ministry’s achievements was this year’s conference commemorating 75 years to the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Russians. A conference which was orchestrated by President Reuven Rivlin together with the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum.
    The number of world leaders who partook in the event was astounding. No less than 45 diginiteries made their way to Israel to pay their respects, among them were Russian President Vladimir Putin, the king of Spain, and French President Emanuel Macron.
    The Foreign Ministry built and lifted the whole event, taking care of all meetings and leaders' needs.
    גבי אשכנזי הייקו מאס שר ה חוץ ה גרמני ועידת ואנזה ברלין גרמניהגבי אשכנזי הייקו מאס שר ה חוץ ה גרמני ועידת ואנזה ברלין גרמניה
    Foreign Affairs Minister Gabi Ashkenazi
    (Photo: Reuters)
    We can only hope this great momentum continues in the coming years.
    If the the ministry's current leadership continues to lead a firm and responsible line of political work, it is possible that we will finally see an era of fresh and professional work in Israel’s foreign affairs.
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