MK Complains After Israeli Envoy to U.S. Endorses Netanyahu

Meretz lawmaker demands Civil Service Commission take disciplinary action against Ambassador Ron Dermer.

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Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer
Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron DermerCredit: Olivier Fitoussi
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Meretz lawmaker Issawi Freij on Thursday sent a letter to Civil Service Commissioner Moshe Dayan to demand that he summon Israel's Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, for clarifications following an interview he gave on American television, in which the envoy explicitly declared support for the prime minister in the upcoming election.

Ignoring such a remark, especially when it is made to the press, is tantamount to the commission allowing civil servants to violate its guidelines, Freij wrote in his letter. "It is the commission's duty to take immediate disciplinary action against Dermer, so as to make the validity of its instructions clear," Freij went on.

"It is inconceivable that senior civil servants would politically promote those who appointed them," Freij wrote, adding that he would ask the commissioner to immediately summon Dermer to explain that he "intends to act to the full extent of the law against civil servants – especially senior ones – who express support for particular candidates in the election."

Ambassador Dermer appeared on the Fusion network last week, where he said, “I have no doubt that when they [the Israeli public] look at all the people that stand for the leadership of the country, that they will have confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

That remark flouts regulations issued just two weeks ago by the Civil Service Commission, which forbade all civil servants from taking part in election campaigning or propaganda and commenting on political issues. The instructions warned senior officials to be especially cautious.

Civil Service Commissioner Dayan issued his instruction in a December 10 memo, saying, “A state employee must be careful that his actions or behavior cannot be interpreted as being aimed at promoting the interest of any particular party or candidate.” Anyone violating these instructions, he said, “will face criminal or disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the law.”

The Civil Service Commission said, in response to Freij's complaint, that its disciplinary unit was examining the complaint.

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