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April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Ministry’

Israeli Foreign Ministry Says ‘No Choice’ on Closing Chabad’s Nepal Seder

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A general strike by Israel’s Foreign Ministry this year is having an unexpected effect on Jews thousands of miles away.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, the labor action has prevented the far-flung Israeli embassy from providing the much-needed goods for the Chabad-Lubavitch seder in Nepal — a world-famous event that draws nearly a thousand people annually to Katmandu. Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in Israel and New York could not be reached for comment.

Palmor said in an interview with The Jewish Press today (Monday), “The window is closed. I spoke with the ambassador yesterday and he explained they need a full month to be able to prepare for this event, and we are just three weeks away from Pesach.

“There is nothing that can be done about it,” he said.

But it’s not only the embassy in Nepal that has been affected by the strike. “Every embassy around the world is closed,” Palmor said.

“This means that every diplomatic function has been shut down. There are no diplomatic cables, no intelligence analyses or negotiations that we handle are being carried out, no visas or passports being processed, no public relations or other statements being made to foreign media in countries around the world – anything that has to do with foreign relations is stopped.”

The strike follows a year-long effort by Foreign Ministry workers to persuade the Finance Ministry to raise shrinking salaries and dropping pensions to “realistic levels.”

According to Palmor, the average gross monthly salary for a ministry worker hovers at around NIS 11,000 (approx. USD 3,000) – less than that of an experienced secretary in New York City. “In fact, an analyst makes less,” he said pointedly. “And if you add the expense of raising a family and the loss of a second income when the employee’s spouse must leave their job in Israel, for many of our staff it is simply not worth it to go abroad anymore. We are losing some of our best staff, and we have been unable to make government finance people come to their senses about this any other way.”

While ministry workers are struggling to wake up the Finance Ministry – and their own boss, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – Chabad emissary Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz still has a problem. Regardless, he will have to figure out how to feed 1,000 people on the first night of Passover, April 14, in Katmandu, with all the kosher-for-Pesach supplies necessary to grace the longest seder table in the world.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Workers Strike

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Employees of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs have gone on a major strike protesting low wages and working conditions.

The strike, announced Tuesday, will suspend all services to foreign dignitaries visiting Israel, as well as all services to Israeli dignitaries planning trips or already abroad. In addition, the strike suspends all consular services to Israelis abroad. The only exceptions will be for Israelis whose lives are in danger and for bodies that must be transported back to Israel for burial.

A similar strike that took place last summer was suspended for negotiations with the Finance Ministry. The strike was renewed when negotiations broke down.

“Finance Ministry officials chose to act in a way that is unworthy of public servants, and their behavior reached a low point when after seven months of mediated negotiations they presented us with an offer that says, ‘Continue to give your all, you’ll get absolutely nothing in return,’” said Yair Frommer, the union’s chairman, in a statement, according to the Times of Israel.

Pope Francis and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown are set to visit Israel in the coming months, trips that may be postponed if the strike continues.

Israel Promises to Keep Consulate in Philadelphia

Friday, December 13th, 2013

The Foreign Ministry has notified Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter that its consulate offices in Philadelphia will remain open following reports that they were to be closed.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman sent to the mayor a copy of the letter via Mid-Atlantic Regional Consul General Yaron Sideman, who was attending a board meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia at the time.

“Today’s announcement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs is tremendously exciting for the City of Philadelphia, our Jewish community, and the Consulate General. I want to thank Minister Liberman for his decision,” Nutter said in a press release.

“It would have hurt – just the civic pride, if nothing else – but really the service provided by the Consul General’s Office is also critically important” he added.

Local leaders and Congressmen conducted a campaign to keep the Consulate open, including as direct appeal by Mayor Nutter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres while on a trade mission in Israel last month.

Israel Withdraws Loyalty Survey of Expats, US Jews

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered two Israeli ministries to withdraw a poll asking expatriate Israelis and American Jews about their loyalties.

On Sunday, Netanyahu told the Immigrant Absorption Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to halt distribution of the survey after news reports of its contents were published in the Israeli media.

The Israeli daily Haaretz was the first to report on the poll, which asked respondents where they would place their allegiance in the event of a crisis between the United States and Israel.

The survey was commissioned by the Israeli American Council, a private nonprofit group based in Los Angeles that supports the Israeli-American community. Billionaire media mogul Haim Saban is a prime backer of the council.

Israeli embassies and consulates in the United States were asked last week by the council to distribute the poll via email, according to Haaretz.

The survey is part of the council’s effort to expand in other cities. American billionaire Sheldon Adelson has pledged to help fund the expansion, Haaretz reported.

Respondents to the survey also were asked to what extent they make voting decisions for president or Congress based on the candidates’ attitudes toward Israel, and the impact of American Jews and Jewish organizations on American policy.

It is unclear at what government level the survey was approved or whether Absorption or Foreign Ministry officials checked what types of questions would be asked, according to Haaretz. The survey had the symbol of the State of Israel on its first page.

Palestinian Authority Labels 600,000 Israeli Jews as ‘Terrorists’

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The Palestinian Authority has labeled Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett, other unnamed Israeli officials and 600,000 Israeli Jews as “terrorists” after he said that real terrorists “should be eliminated and not freed.”

“The definition of terrorism completely applies to many Israeli politicians who defame Palestinian prisoners especially those jailed before the Oslo Accords,” the PA foreign ministry said, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.

The foreign ministry also defined  a terrorist as anyone “who occupies the lands of another people and displaces them by force and settles in their place.”

The PA statement in effect says that I, and another 600,000 Jews, are terrorists.

That is what we get for Bennett having the nerve to say what all other normal politicians, except  Avigdor Liberman,  think to themselves but won’t say out loud, that “terrorists should be eliminated, not freed.”

Bennett made the remark in the wake of the Cabinet decision to support Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s request to please  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry  and chairman Mahmoud Abbas and free 104 terrorists responsible for the murders of Israeli soldiers and civilians, including the elderly and children.

He also had the audacity to remind people that as an Israeli elite combat officer, he had “killed many Arabs and… never had a problem.”

Israeli soldiers are not supposed to kill. It is immoral in the eyes of the international community. To kill someone who tries to kill you is disproportionate force.

And how about those terrorists who do kill?

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated they cannot possibly be terrorists because they are “strugglers for their freedoms.”

Israel put them behind bars, turning the freedom fighters into prisoners. In the past, Israel has freed thousands of these freedom fighters, hundreds of whom have returned to struggle for their freedom by murdering more than 550 Jews.

It is not clear for what freedom they are fighting, unless it is the freedom to kill.

Foreign Ministry Strike Strands South Floridians

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

The strike at the Foreign Ministry and its consulates worldwide has left hundreds people stranded, including several from South Florida.

“All I really need is someone to put a stamp in my passport” that expired last month, Delray Beach, Florida businessman Shimon Cohen told the Miami Herald. He charged that the strike violated his “basic human right of free movement.”

The strike was prompted by a government reorganization of the ministry after the creation of  a new Ministry of International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs.

Chaim Schacham, the Israeli consul general for Florida and Puerto Rico, said the strike was necessary. “Because we’re diplomats and we speak diplomatically, they didn’t take us seriously at first,” he added.

Cohen said he understands the beefs of the ministry workers  but “a passport is a necessity, not a luxury.” He said, “I cannot be held as a prisoner here based on what is happening in Israel. Let them settle it within the borders of Israel.”

That assumes that Israeli knows what its borders are.

Deal to Keep Foreign Minister Post for Lieberman Upheld as Legal

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein has upheld a deal whereby Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to keep the Foreign Ministry post open for Avigdor Lieberman if he is found not guilty of charges of breach of trust.

Weinstein said the agreement is kosher, only 24 hours after he ordered his assistant to investigate charges by the Ometz government watchdog organization that the deal is illegal. Ometz claimed that the Netanyahu-Lieberman agreement was in fact a coalition deal that needs approval by the Knesset.

Lieberman resigned as his Foreign Minister  last December after being indicted on a charge of promoting a former ambassador to Belarus who informed his boss of information concerning a criminal investigation against him.

Ometz argued that besides illegal, the agreement would place Foreign Ministry workers in an awkward position if they have to testify against Lieberman while knowing he may be their boss if he is acquitted. The assistant attorney general answered that government works often have to testify against superiors.

Weinstein’s decision knocks off the table the demand by Future (Yesh Atid) party chairman Yair Lapid to become Foreign Minister. If Lieberman is found guilty, the position will be up for grabs, but that presumably will not happen until after a collation government is finally agreed upon.

Netanyahu has been trying to persuade Lapid to accept the Finance Ministry portfolio, which has proven to be a can of worms for every Finance Minister since Netanyahu himself held the post in the Sharon government and helped turn the economy around.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/deal-to-keep-foreign-minister-post-for-lieberman-upheld-as-legal/2013/03/07/

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