Three Israeli diplomats have been recalled from their posts abroad for unprofessional behavior, using Twitter posts on their personal accounts to criticize top administration officials – the very government they represent.
Civil service regulations and Foreign Ministry rules are clear that foreign service personnel are prohibited from making their personal political views public. This particularly applies to diplomats representing the State of Israel and its interests in the world arena and who operate a source of public information and advocacy for Israel on social media.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered the immediate suspension Wednesday of Israel’s Ambassador to Switzerland, Yigal Caspi. Also recalled from their posts were Assaf Moran, who handles political affairs at the Israel Embassy in New Delhi, and Yaron Gamburg, who works in the Department of Political Research and was a former spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in Paris. All three were told to return for disciplinary hearings prior to termination.
A retweet by Caspi originally written by a journalist read: “It’s shocking how Lieberman waved off his ministers. Not that they were especially good, and yet his use of people, bringing them in and letting them go when he is sick of them, is horrible.”
The ambassador also retweeted another journalist’s post, this one regarding Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress: “Is it no longer possible to suffice in scaring us here in Hebrew? (He) has to fly all the way to the US Congress and tell them in English how dangerous Iran’s nuclear program is?”
There were a number of others retweeted by Caspi, written by the same journalist, all in a similar vein.
The other two diplomats likewise retweeted posts criticizing the prime minister and other ministers in government. One tweet was an original post aimed at Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of Bayit Yehudi.
The behavior is unprofessional at best, self-destructive and truly harmful to the state’s interests at worst. It proves this country still has a long way to go in weeding out those who hold tight to their jobs, not necessarily out of competence but thanks to their seniority and state benefits.
For this reason alone, Israel’s image abroad has suffered immeasurably, and will continue to suffer until there is a way to hire competent people to replace those who place their personal interests above loyalty to the state.