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Israeli Diplomat Probed Over Leaks, US Job Nixed

Foreign Ministry has officially cancelled the appointment of Eran Etzion as Deputy Ambassador to Washington.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/17/2013, 4:45 PM

Foreign Ministry
Foreign Ministry
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Foreign Ministry has officially cancelled the appointment of a career diplomat, Eran Etzion, to the post of deputy ambassador to the US, for which he had been intended following an investigation into allegations over the leaking of classified material.

Maariv reports that the coveted post is now unmanned, and a new tender has been issued for the appointment.

It was reported in August that Diplomatic Planning Section Head Etzion is suspected of leaking sensitive information to the press. Two months later, the Foreign Ministry and the Shin Bet are still not saying what the content of the leak was.

"About a month and a half ago, Etzion surprisingly stopped showing up for work,” wrote Maariv's Eli Berdenstein when the story was first revealed. “The employees, who did not understand where he had disappeared, received an unexplained message that said that the traditional farewell party that was supposed to be held for him before he went to Washington, had been postponed for personal reasons. To this day, he has not been seen at the office. He was supposed to go to the U.S. with his family this week, but his departure has been postponed and is in great doubt.”

Etzion served as assistant to then-Foreign Ministry Director Uri Savir, during the Oslo accord period. Berdenstein hints that his views are left of center.

"No one at the office knows anything about this, not even Etzion's employees at the Planning Section,” an employee told Maariv. “No one is even telling us what is going on. The man has simply disappeared from the office as if the earth swallowed him up. This is really scary.”