Israel’s deputy ambassador to Washington, Dan Arbel, was suspended on Tuesday for allegedly leaking sensitive information  to a Haaretz reporter in 2009.

Arbel, a senior and widely respected diplomat, is now expected to undergo a disciplinary procedure. The alleged leak took place before Arbel went to Washington.

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In December 2009, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced the suspension of Alon Bar, then the ministry’s deputy director-general for strategic affairs, for allegedly leaking classified information that he said at the time “created tension” with the US.

Ten months later, Bar was appointed Israel’s envoy to Spain after a disciplinary process carried out by the Civil Service Commission and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) exonerated him. The investigation continued, however, and has now apparently led to Arbel.

The ministry’s director-general circulated an internal memo to workers on Tuesday, saying that a senior ministry employee had been suspended temporarily to enable the Civil Service Commission and the Shin Bet to investigate.

Spokesmen both in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem and in the embassy in Washington were under strict orders Tuesday not to discuss the matter.

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