Cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser announced his resignation on Thursday, after four years on the job. Hauser, who was one of the officials who exposed the sexual harassment complaints against former bureau head Natan Eshel, is leaving before the formation of the new government. This is at a time when Eshel is in the headlines again, with his involvement in coalition negotiations and with his misdirected email that reached Shelly Yacimovich instead of the intended Prime Minister’s legal counsel.
Ever since being ignominiously removed from his post, Eshel has been trying obsessively to erase his serious misdemeanors and to somehow find a way back into public life. At the same time, he is trying to get even with the officials in the prime minister’s office who lodged the complaint against him, particularly with Hauser and with the head of information services, Yoaz Hendel.
Evidence for score settling surfaced in a Maariv column on Friday, written by Shalom Yerushalmi, who has recently seemed to position himself as Netanyahu’s and Eshel’s in-house journalist. Yerushalmi called Hauser a “suspicious object”, and termed his resignation “a clear victory for Eshel, in a battle not yet ended”. In his column, Yerushalmi neglected to mention the amateur photographer Eshel’s inappropriate behavior towards a female staff member.
Yoaz Hendel was the one who came out in Hauser’s defense. Hendel was the only one of Netanyahu’s former and current aides who came out publicly against the continued ties between Eshel and Netanyahu, and the attempts to place him on the Likud’s coalition negotiating team. Hendel posted praise for Hauser and criticism of Netanyahu and his advisers on his Facebook page:
“I’ve just returned from a hike in the desert with some army buddies. Some friendships are forged under enemy fire and sweat. Zvika Hauser, in contrast, became a friend under the lights shining at the Prime Minister’s Office, with both of us wrapped in business suits. There was no enemy fire there, but courage was demanded nevertheless. In addition to being a talented jurist, Zvika has public wisdom and courage. In this context, I’ve been asked a lot recently about my relationship with Netanyahu. I reply that I’m disappointed, but that not much has changed. I didn’t admire him in the past, nor do I now. He has many gifts but also many flaws. That’s how I write about him, with praise and criticism. I detest the blind hatred felt by many towards him as much as I detest the blind admiration of others. Netanyahu could succeed only if those surrounding him were not all yes-men, always agreeing and telling him what he wants to hear. This way, he perceives himself as the wisest, unerring, anointed to lead person."
“Most of the ministers in the outgoing government and Natanyahu’s advisers prefer to keep silent, and not to get involved. Tzvika always spoke out, even when the words were unpleasant. He’s finishing a term of office in which he did much good for the country, much of it by holding up a mirror. In the specifications for the new cabinet secretary, the quality of courage should be prominent. This is good for Netanyahu (even if unpleasant) and good for the country”.
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