Foreign Ministry Officials Want Minister, Not Bibi

Officials say they don't want PM to 'weaken' ministry, while former deputy FM Ayalon talks about the pitfalls and possible solutions.

Nitsan Keidar, Ari Yashar,

Binyamin Netanyahu, then-Deputy FM Danny Ayalon
Binyamin Netanyahu, then-Deputy FM Danny Ayalon
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Sources in the Foreign Ministry told Arutz Sheva they are furious at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's apparent decision to keep the foreign portfolio in his own hands, not appointing a minister so as to leave open the option of bringing in new coalition members later on.

"It's unthinkable that the most important ministry in the state of Israel, which deals with its foreign relations, will be a stepson of the prime minister, and be managed without a guiding hand and without a serving minister," the sources said. "We call on the prime minister to return to the ministry its power, instead of weakening it."

Former Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon told Arutz Sheva that, "unfortunately, we see prime ministers throughout the generations not treating the foreign ministry as it should be, and it's a shame."

"The clerks have been bitter for years, and in effect over the last six years they didn't have a minister, and the ministry has essentially been disbanded," said Ayalon, explaining that relations with the US are being managed by the Prime Minister's Office, the Iranian nuclear issue is being dealt with by the Mossad and National Security Council, and "the Palestinian issue also was taken from the ministry's responsibility."

Explaining the possible fallout from Netanyahu's actions, Ayalon said, "there's no problem that a ministry like this will function without a minister in a full-time position, the question is how much he (Netanyahu) will be able to dedicate to the matter and how much importance he will give the ministry."

"When the prime minister is the foreign minister he can give the ministry a lot of power, but the clerks apparently fear he will continue to manage foreign relations from other places," he noted, indicating the Prime Minister's Office and other institutions.

Ayalon reasoned that a solution may lie in appointing a deputy foreign minister without a full minister above him, but "only if it will be a serious deputy minister, who will have the full backing and confidence of the prime minister, it could work."

"If Tzachi Hanegbi, fore example, were to be the authority in the office he could be a great minister, and his relations with Netanyahu would add a lot," concluded Ayalon.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it will not respond or comment about political decisions such as the appointment of ministers.