Ambassadors’ Conference Ends on Sour Note

Foreign Ministry employees take advantage of annual conference to protest impasse on talks over the conditions of their employment.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari, | updated: 14:24

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Israel news photo: Flash 90

For the past several years, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has taken advantage of the holiday season abroad to hold an annual conference for Israeli ambassadors around the world.

This year, however, the conference ended on a sour note, Arutz Sheva’s Hebrew website reported on Monday.

According to the report, Foreign Ministry employees decided to take advantage of the ambassadors’ conference and use it as a means of worsening the measures they have taken to protest an impasse in negotiations with the Ministry of Finance on improving their employment conditions.

Acting upon orders by the workers union, starting Monday morning the agenda for the conference was frozen, and before long the workers decided not to attend a scheduled meeting with President Shimon Peres.

Acting Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rafi Barak, urged union members not to cancel the meeting with Peres, but they refused to attend. In addition, the union members handed the ambassadors and Foreign Ministry employees who came especially from abroad to participate in the conference black shirts bearing the words “I am a poor diplomat.”

The workers union published data on Monday, according to which 10 per cent of Foreign Ministry’s employees are considered as being below the poverty line.