Bennett Makes Up With Foreign Ministry Union Over Attack on Its Workers

Israel's education minister affirms he meant only a few employees are problematic, while union head states specific diplomats as not representing his ministry.

Hanan Goder speaking at a meeting of the Foreign Ministry workers' union in 2011.
Michal Fattal

Education Minister Naftali Bennett held a conciliatory meeting with the head of the Foreign Ministry workers' union, in the wake of a verbal attack he made against ministry employees on Friday.

"I'm beginning to think that maybe there's a problem with the DNA of the Foreign Ministry," Bennett had said on Radio Tel Aviv. "With people like Alon Liel, who has been with the ministry enough time, there's a deep problem," he added, referring to the ministry's former director general's attempted to increase international pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories. His speech infuriated Foreign Ministry workers.

Bennett's office stated that union chairman Hanan Goder had requested the face-to-face meeting, while the ministry asserted that Bennett was the one who had initiated the personal talk.

According to Bennett's office, the education minister clarified in the meeting that his speech was aimed at "a number of characters hurting Israel, and not the entirety of the Foreign Ministry's dedicated workers."

According to the union, Goder told Bennet that Liel does not represent ministry employees. Likewise, Goder announced a cancellation of the directive to Foreign Ministry workers not to cooperate with Bennett.