Netanyahu pushes to appoint controversial PR chief

Prime Minister intends to go ahead with appointment of Ran Baratz, despite his Facebook posts against Obama and Kerry.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intends to go ahead with the appointment of Ran Baratz as head of the country’s public diplomacy strategy, which was put on hold after harsh comments Baratz made on Facebook against President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and President Reuven Rivlin came to light.

Channel 2 News reported on Thursday that Netanyahu had sent a letter to the Civil Service Commission, asking that it review Baratz’s appointment, and the Civil Service Commissioner said in response that there is a difficulty in approving Baratz’s appointment, which may not meet certain requirements.

But the Prime Minister’s Office, according to the report, rejected the Commissioner’s response and said that "the argument that Ran Baratz does not meet the criteria to be in charge of public diplomacy is ridiculous.”

“For many years he has been writing and editing articles on political, security and economic issues, showing deep knowledge and great skill,” Netanyahu's office said, adding, “The attempt to disqualify is due to external motivations and absurd bureaucracy and it will not succeed.”

The United States blasted Baratz’s appointment after his controversial Facebook comments came to light, but Baratz later apologized for the posts.

Education Minister and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett at the time said that Netanyahu should appoint Baratz if he so wishes and not apologize for it.

"Only Israel will decide who will head its public diplomacy. I back the decision to appoint Ran Baratz. Without apologizing," he wrote on Twitter.