Israel's national security adviser told more than 100 senior Israeli ambassadors and diplomats on Monday that if they did not agree with the diplomacy of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, they should either "quit or go into politics."
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Ya'akov Amidror made these remarks during a lecture at the Foreign Ministry's annual conference, Yedioth Ahronoth reported, after Israel's envoy to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, asked why the government had announced its plans to advance the construction project in the E-1 corridor connecting the West Bank and Jerusalem just one day after the international community voted to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status to non-member observer state.
A number of diplomats applauded Prosor after his comment. Amidror hurried to respond, and said angrily that in the British or American foreign ministries, nobody would applaud a question that hinted at criticism of those governments' diplomacies. Amidror added that the decision on E-1 had been made to clarify to the Palestinians that there were losses to be had from the UN process.
The Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general, Ran Curiel, tried to calm the room down, telling Amidror that the applause was not directed against the government, but rather expressed the diplomats' frustration at having no way to explain the decision on behalf of Israel.
Amidror was not placated and went on to admonish the diplomats. "Whoever dislikes the government's policies can quit or go into politics," he said. "I am a clerk, and you are clerks, and we represent the government. Our job is to advise, and in the end, the leaders make the decisions."
Foreign Ministry officials who witnessed the altercation said that Prosor's question had been asked politely, and was not intended as an affront to Amidror, while the latter's response was uncalculated. "Amidror went too far," said one Foreign Ministry official. "It was clear that he was making a scandal so that the media would get wind of it."