FM case diplomat forced on leave

Ze’ev Ben-Aryeh allegedly tipped off Lieberman on police investigation.

By
March 4, 2010 04:25
2 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

lieberman imposing 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Ze’ev Ben-Aryeh, the diplomat at the center of the newest allegations involving Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, was forced to go on leave on Wednesday pending further police investigations into his actions.

Foreign Ministry officials confirmed that the vacation request for Ben-Aryeh came following meetings between the Civil Service Commission and ministry officials. The police reportedly passed on allegations against Ben-Aryeh to the Civil Service Commission, which is expected to open disciplinary proceedings against him.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Ben-Aryeh is a former envoy to Belarus and was set to take up the post as Israel’s ambassador to Latvia and Lithuania in the summer.

Related: FM - New probe obstruction of justice

According to one law enforcement source, Ben-Aryeh confessed during questioning in recent days to opening – while he was Israel’s envoy to Minsk in 2008 – an envelope containing a confidential police request addressed to authorities in Belarus asking for assistance with an investigation into Lieberman’s affairs.

The document contained secret information pertaining to the investigation, and included the names of persons of interest to the investigation and bank account details, according to reports.

Ben-Aryeh has been questioned on a number of occasions over the past few weeks, and is suspected of passing the information on to Lieberman when the two men met in Belarus in October 2008.

In February 2009, just after Israel’s general election, when the country was anxiously waiting to hear whether Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu party would join a Likud- or a Kadima-led government, Lieberman flew off for five days to Minsk for what was described as rest and relaxation.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


After his tenure as ambassador to Belarus ended, Ben-Aryeh returned to Jerusalem and was appointed Lieberman’s adviser on Russia and Euro-Asia inside his bureau. Police are also investigating whether this promotion to diplomatic adviser was linked to the alleged illegal tip-off.

Foreign Ministry workers, meanwhile, were stunned by the developments, saying that it was an “embarrassment” and has “cast a heavy cloud” over the ministry.

Until now, all the allegations of wrongdoing by Lieberman involved actions allegedly committed outside the walls of the ministry.

“But this involves the Foreign Ministry, and it has cast a heavy cloud ,” one official said.

One worker said the allegations that an ambassador tipped off Lieberman “opened up a can of worms,” with people walking around wondering if anyone else inside the ministry – anyone else appointed by Lieberman – was involved in anything similar.

Neither Lieberman nor anyone else in the ministry administration has called together the workers to talk the matter over with them, or has offered any explanations.

Ben-Aryeh, according to officials in the ministry, came to work there from Israel Radio in the early 1990s after the Iron Curtain fell and Israel suddenly found itself in need of Russian-speakers to deal with establishing diplomatic ties with Russia and the former Soviet republics.

A number of workers were absorbed into the ministry at the time without having gone through the regular cadets course, one ministry official said.

The official described Ben-Aryeh as a quiet, “grey diplomat” who worked in the Euro-Asia Department but did not necessarily stand out, and whose appointment as ambassador to Minsk, as well as his selection as one of Lieberman’s top advisers and then the appointment to Riga, raised eyebrows.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN