Perturbed Foreign Ministry officials called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
on Monday to remind Interior Minister Eli Yishai that he should deal with
matters of his ministry, not Israeli foreign policy.
“This is anarchy,”
one official said of a meeting Yishai held Monday with Norway’s ambassador to
Israel, where he called on Oslo to follow Canada’s lead and cut ties with
“Has he solved all the problems in his ministry and now is dealing
with the foreign ministry?” the official asked.
“This is ridiculous. Does
the US secretary of education get involved in US foreign policy?” Yishai met
Ambassador Svein Sevje and told him “the international community must understand
that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the world, not just Israel. They must do all
they can to work toward stopping the anchoring of their nuclear aspirations and
removing the terrorist regime [in Tehran].”
Only a worldwide coalition
against Iran can make these things possible, the interior minister
Sevje said his country would consider stopping diplomatic
relations with Tehran.
This was not the first time that Yishai’s
intervention has raised the ire of Foreign Ministry officials. In June, at the
height of the public debate over African migrants, Yishai met with the Eritrean
ambassador and urged him to relay a message to his countrymen not to come to
Israel. Then, as now, Foreign Ministry officials said he was overstepping his
The officials said that while it was legitimate for various
government ministers to meet foreign ambassadors, their comments should be
restricted to the business of their ministries.