Head scratching over newly-minted Int'l Affairs Min.

"We don't like that they seem to be taking away our authority," one senior ministry official remarks.

Yuval Steinitz 370 (photo credit: Hadas Parush)
Yuval Steinitz 370
(photo credit: Hadas Parush)
The Foreign Ministry looked on with a mixture of bemusement and bewilderment at the appointment Monday of Yuval Steinitz as international affairs minister (also in charge of strategic affairs and intelligence).
“We don’t like that they seem to be taking away our authority,” one senior ministry official said. He joked, however, that even as the government established the International Affairs Ministry, it was closing the Ministry of Public Diplomacy.
When Yuli Edelstein was appointed to head that ministry four years ago, the same types of complaints were voiced then that are now raised regarding Steinitz: that it was a redundant ministry that would take authority away from the Foreign Ministry.
Steinitz will take over the responsibilities carried out in the previous government by Moshe Ya’alon (Strategic Affairs Ministry) and Dan Meridor (Intelligence Affairs Ministry). He will also be in charge of the biannual US-Israel strategic dialogue, as well as coordinate efforts against Iran’s nuclear program and represent Israel in various international forums – also jobs carried out by Ya’alon and Meridor in the previous government.
While former deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon headed up the strategic dialogue in the previous government, before that it was a position often held by those outside the ministry. For instance, Shaul Mofaz had this role as transportation minister during the Olmert government and Tzachi Hanegbi had it as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Office during the Sharon years.