Some 18 diplomatic positions abroad, including deputy ambassador to Norway and to Kenya, remain vacant because of staffing issues inside the Foreign Ministry, the ministry’s workers committee said Monday.

The committee presented these figures at the annual conference being held at the ministry for Israel’s ambassadors and consuls-general abroad.

Yair Fromer, the chairman of the workers committee, said the state of Israeli diplomacy was “bad,” and that it was not because of government policy decisions but because of the “negligence and dereliction of Israeli governments in investing the necessary resources into the Foreign Service.”

He said that the government needed to act immediately to prevent deterioration in Israel’s position abroad and to ensure the future of Israeli diplomats.

According to the committee, the ministry is suffering from the flight of diplomats who are leaving the Foreign Service because of an inability to make ends meet, both here and when they serve abroad.

Among the positions that have not been filled, in addition to the posts in Norway and Kenya, are the political adviser in Australia, cultural attaché in Japan, deputy ambassador in Nepal, consul in India, and economic adviser in Russia. In addition, the committee said that only one or two diplomats have put forward their candidacy for dozens of other positions.

The ministry workers have been engaged in a labor dispute since February, and are currently in a mediation process with the Treasury.

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