danny ayalon 88.
(photo credit: )
Many are still wondering about the root causes of the recent
spat between and . On the Turkish side, Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's disrespectful behavior toward President Shimon Peres at
last year's Davos conference played a significant role in the commencement of
the recent quarrel. During a heated discussion, on a public stage, Erdogan
stormed off because he didn't like Peres's response to his provocative
statements regarding 's
actions in .
In Turkish and Israeli culture - in fact in almost every culture - this is
plainly rude. Some would even consider it humiliating, as it conveys the
message that "you are not worth speaking to."
On the Turkish side, the situation was made worst by a number of TV programs
which portrayed IDF soldiers as nothing more than child murderers. Had made similar inaccurate and
sensationalized programs about 's
treatment of Kurds or Armenians, the reaction from would have been as strong,
if not worse.
The State of Israel had every right to protest 's recent actions, and it
could have done so effectively. Unfortunately this was not the case. The
Foreign Ministry is staffed by many brilliant qualified professionals. However,
it is currently headed by politicians in the form of Israel Beiteinu's Avigdor
Lieberman and Danny Ayalon, who, judging by their recent actions, know very
little about diplomacy.
After the recent provocations from ,
instead of conveying 's
concerns and protestations professionally and effectively, Ayalon decided to
try to humiliate the Turkish ambassador by seating him on a lower chair during
their meeting and by not having the Turkish flag displayed on the table. Once
the Israeli press exposed the affair, Ayalon decided to apologize. His apology
was timely, but by that stage it basically meant that , which
was the victim of offensive Turkish behavior, now had to apologize as well.
who pay Ayalon's salary, would be forgiven for hoping that this is the end of
such incompetent behavior by the deputy foreign minister. They may be
disappointed to know that, in fact, more of the same theatrics may soon follow
. Why? Because people who work with Ayalon are in fact proud of his behavior.
In a recent interview with The
, a source close to Ayalon stated that " will
benefit from the way in which Ayalon managed the crisis."
To err is human, says the famous proverb. Ayalon erred once. The people who
work with him could have advised him to act otherwise, but it seems they were
unsuccessful or simply did not know any better.
However, if after the enormous damage caused by the deputy foreign minister to
the diplomatic standing of this country, his advisers are still feebleminded
enough to say that his actions are going to benefit the state, it shows that
this issue has still not been understood properly by Ayalon's team. Or that
they simply don't care about the damage they have caused.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must address this level of professional
deficiency shown by Israel Beiteinu in the Foreign Ministry. With the issue of becoming even more sensitive, needs
competent hands at its diplomatic wheels. Every statement could impact 's
regional and international position and leverage, both positively and
With the regime of Ali Khamenei becoming weaker every day at home, he will
increasingly be looking outside his borders for ways to strengthen his
government's standing. Just as 's
Hafez Assad used his influence in
as a pillar to maintain his regime, Khamenei will now be relying more on 's
influence in the region to shore up his position. This could include the use of
Hizbullah hitmen to attack protesters in ,
and the use of Hamas, Hizbullah and
to create instability around 's
borders. This is in addition to Khamenei's so far successful plans to forge a
close alliance with .
The supreme leader's ultimate goal is to diplomatically outmaneuver and isolate
This means that
needs its diplomats to be as competent as its soldiers who defend its borders.
Just as Netanyahu takes 's
security and defense seriously, he must pay similar attention to this country's
The recent episode with the Turkish ambassador has made into a laughing stock around the world,
including among 's
intellectual elite, a majority of whom oppose Khamenei. Failure to address 's diplomatic failures may mean that 's supreme
leader, despite his country's military inferiority, may actually win the
The writer is an Iranian-Israeli
analyst and the coauthor of
The Nuclear Sphinx of Teheran: Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran.