(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The workers of the Foreign Ministry insulted by comments that Minister of Education Naftali Bennett said about their office, have decided to cease all contact with the minister until he apologizes, Israel Radio reported on Saturday.
Bennett told Radio Tel Aviv earlier this week that there was "a deep problem with the DNA" of the ministry. In response to the protest, Bennett's office released a statement saying that his remarks referred specifically to those who act against the nation, like former foreign ministry director-general Alon Liel.
The Education Minister's remarks come days after Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely accused Liel of "using his status as a former senior Israeli diplomat...to encourage Breaking the Silence activists in their efforts against Israel abroad."
The Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence describes itself as “an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the occupied territories."
Liel recently caused a stir in Israel when it came to light that he described a scenario whereby Israel could be expelled from the UN, as South Africa once was.
Liel is a former ambassador to South Africa, and compared the Breaking the Silence activists to Jews who worked on behalf of Nelson Mandela to upend apartheid, often at the price of being condemned by friends and family.
Following Bennett's remark, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Liel's conduct could not be applied to all of the workers of the Foreign Ministry who have, "served the nation and the government faithfully."