Against the backdrop of allegations that former foreign minister Avigdor
Liberman acted improperly in the appointment of Ze’ev Ben- Aryeh as ambassador
to Latvia, the Foreign Ministry’s workers’ committee intends in the coming days
to ask the state comptroller to examine the ministry’s method for making senior
Yair Frommer, chairman of the worker’s committee, said
Wednesday the request is not directly connected to the Liberman inquiry, and
that six months ago, the committee turned to the ministry’s director- general
regarding what it said were improprieties in the appointment process. He said
the committee has now decided to turn to the comptroller because it did not get
a resolution on the matter from the ministry’s management.
it is clear that the Belarus Ambassador Affair has made looking into the
ministry’s entire appointments process very timely.
Frommer said that the
workers’ committee has two main complaints. The first is that the seven-person
panel that considers appointments to delegations abroad is weighted heavily in
favor of management, with all but two of the members of the committee occupying
top-level ministry management positions. The panel is headed by the deputy
foreign minister, a political appointment.
The committee would like to
involve more representatives of the workers in the appointments
The second complaint is that detailed protocols of the meetings
are no longer kept, meaning that eliminated candidates never really know what
arguments were used to reject them.
If the current State Comptroller
Yosef Shapira does decide to look into the matter, it would not be the first
time he has done so. In 2006, then-state comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss issued
a special report on shortcomings in manpower administration by the Foreign
Ministry, suggesting that it should consider an overhaul of the
There are currently two appointment committees in the Foreign
Ministry. The first, known as the Higher Committee, is chaired by the deputy
foreign minister and deals with filling vacancies abroad. The second, which
deals with other posts inside the ministry, is run by the
Lindestrauss’s report at the time warned against the
political echelon being involved in professional appointments.
One of the
allegations against Liberman is that he used his influence to sway the
appointments committee toward Ben- Aryeh, a former ambassador to Belarus.
Ben-Aryeh, it is alleged, leaked information to Liberman of the ongoing police
investigation against him.
Regarding the latest legal developments in the
Liberman case, Channel 2 and Channel 10 both reported Wednesday night that
following questioning of Liberman on Tuesday, the charges in the indictment are
expected to get more serious, although it was unclear if a new count would be
An indictment can get more serious just by adding new evidence,
such as alleging that any fraud by Liberman was active as opposed to passive, or
by adding entirely new and separate counts.
Channel 2 also reported that
during the questioning, Liberman told police that while Ben- Aryeh “was a great
candidate, only if I had not acted on his behalf, he might not have been
Yonah Jeremy Bob contributed to this report.