FM officials slam Yishai for foreign policy foray

Perturbed Foreign Ministry officials call on PM to remind the interior minister to deal with matters of his ministry.

September 11, 2012 02:04
1 minute read.
Eli Yishai

Eli Yishai 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)


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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 Iran.

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“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 added.

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 bounds.

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.

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