Internal war breaks out in Israel’s Foreign Ministry



A major quarrel appears to have broken out in Israel’s Foreign Ministry, after an Israeli Russian-language website accused Israeli embassies abroad of being “fertile ground for orgies, sex with minors, sexual harassment and bribery” cases, which are “being hidden from the public”. It was the latest installment in a series of articles by IzRus, one of the most popular Israeli foreign-language websites, which has also accused the Israeli foreign service of favoring a policy of discrimination against foreign-born Israeli citizens in its internal promotion structures. Several Foreign Ministry insiders consider IzRus to be the informal mouthpiece of the country’s new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. The website is edited by Michael Falkov, who was Lieberman’s public relations advisor in 2003 and 2004. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz quotes anonymous diplomatic sources who claim that Lieberman either “wrote the [latest] article himself [or] was the inspiration for it”, in an attempt to wage a “manipulative campaign of incitement” against his internal antagonists in the Foreign Ministry. There are also rumors that the campaign by alleged pro-Lieberman forces began after Foreign Ministry officials rejected en masse Lieberman’s attempt to appoint his personal friend and close aide, Shaul Kamisa, as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt. Last week Ha’aretz disclosed an internal Foreign Ministry memo that warned Kamisa’s presence in Egypt would “cause serious diplomatic damage to Israeli interests”. The newspaper reports that after the latest IzRus claims, many senior Foreign Ministry officials have demanded that the Ministry’s director general, Yossi Gal, publicly defends Israel’s diplomatic core and chastise the pro-Lieberman forces behind IzRus’s accusations. This is the latest in a series of deepening rifts between some of the more dovish elements in Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the new generation of hardliners, represented by Avigdor Lieberman, who Labor Party politicians have repeatedly accused of promoting “racist [policies] and declarations that harm the democratic character of Israel”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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