Monday, September 7, 2015

Wanted, a Foreign Minister for Israel

Shlomo Avineri,

Is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so isolated that he is unable to find someone he can trust to carry out his policies as foreign minister?

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[T]he person who heads this government seems to think that Israel can at this time actually be run without a full-time foreign minister. Large portions of the responsibilities the Foreign Ministry is entrusted with in a normal country have been transferred to other ministers, as a sort-of appendix to their main jobs. The Intelligence and Atomic Energy Ministry was appended to the Transportation Ministry, the Strategic Affairs Ministry was annexed by the Public Security Ministry, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett – who is responsible for the most important and precious human resource in the country – is also responsible for Diaspora Affairs, without doubt a matter of great importance for the nation state of the Jewish people. There may be other such appendices – I seem to remember that some other minister is responsible for public diplomacy (hasbara).
It is clear that most citizens are not well versed in this excess of mini-foreign ministries, which are eating away at the functioning of the real Foreign Ministry itself – and it is doubtful whether those now entrusted with these impressive new roles and titles have the tools and knowledge to handle the new responsibilities they have been given.

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