Attaché’s appointment raises hackles in MFA

Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general threatens to resign after Lieberman involves himself in selection of next cultural attache to Moscow.

November 17, 2010 04:20
1 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Lieberman with headphones 311. (photo credit: AP)

The Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general threatened to resign after Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman involved himself in the selection of the next cultural attache to Moscow, Channel 2 reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, after an initial selection process, two final candidates remained. The two criteria for the position, in order of importance, were: cultural experience and fluency in Russian. One of the candidates holds extensive cultural experience but does not speak Russian, while the other speaks Russian but has a statistics education and no cultural background.

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At some point during the selection meeting, a call came through from the foreign minister’s office with instructions to reverse the importance of the selection criteria, a preference for the Russian speaker, according to Channel 2. It was at this point that the deputy director- general threatened to resign, saying that it would not be appropriate to send a cultural attache without any cultural background.

In a response issued to Channel 2, Lieberman expressed amazement “that a person who does not speak Russian and has never been exposed to [Russia’s] culture would be selected for the position.” He then questioned the ability of someone without knowledge of Russian language and culture to properly expose the Russian public to Israel.

Lieberman said that he has instructed his office “to write a letter to the Civil Service Commission so that these defects will be corrected in the future.” The foreign minister added that he had no prior knowledge who the candidates were.

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