Netanyahu to visit Poland in spite of labor dispute

Prime minister to inaugurate Holocaust exhibition; foreign ministry refuses to provide logistical, preparatory support for visit.

June 3, 2013 20:40
1 minute read.
PM Netanyahu speaks at Auschwitz Birkenau

PM Netanyahu speaks at Auschwitz Birkenau 370 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is going ahead with plans to visit Poland next week, even though Foreign Ministry officials are not providing any preparatory or logistical support for the visit because of an ongoing labor dispute.

Netanyahu, who is also currently the country’s foreign minister, is scheduled to travel to Warsaw next Wednesday for a government- to-government meeting, and then Krakow the next day to participate in the reopening of an exhibition titled “Shoah,” at the Auschwitz- Birkenau museum. Five ministers and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin will accompany him.

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The Foreign Ministry’s workers’ committee, which has waged a labor dispute for months for better wages and work conditions, released a statement decrying Netanyahu’s use of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and IDF to take care of the considerable logistics for the visit.

Netanyahu is “trampling over” the Foreign Ministry employees, the workers’ committee said in a statement.

“It seems that the prime minister prefers to threaten us with force, and in the process turn the army into a tool against civilians, instead of negotiating issues that will resolve the conflict,” the statement said. “It is not right that the foreign minister uses the army to break the sanctions by Foreign Ministry employees, at a time when he should be worrying about the well-being of foreign service employees.”

This is not the first time Netanyahu has had to look outside the Foreign Ministry for help organizing a trip abroad. The same thing happened in 2010, when Foreign Ministry workers involved in a previous work dispute refused to organize or provide support for a trip to Greece. For that visit, Netanyahu relied on services provided by the Mossad, a move which led the Foreign Ministry to temporarily stop its cooperation with that organization.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to respond to the matter.

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