Officials dispute claim diplomat leaving over gov’t polices

Senior Foreign Minister sources:It's "odd" that Barch's resignation comes a year after he was denied appointment as ambassador to Egypt.

Senior sources in the Foreign Ministry termed “odd” on Wednesday veteran diplomat Ilan Baruch’s e-mail to fellow workers indicating he was leaving the ministry to protest the government’s policies, considering that just a year ago Baruch put forward his candidacy to be ambassador to Egypt.
Six months after he did not get that appointment, the sources said, Baruch, 61, began the process of early retirement from the ministry.
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“All this makes it absurd to say that he quit on ideological grounds and because of a problem of conscience,” one of the sources said. “Didn’t he have these problems when he applied for the Cairo position?” Baruch, who sent out a parting e-mail to his co-workers on Monday saying that the government’s polices were leading to the delegitimization of Israel, responded by saying that the ministry had no other way to digest his move – which he said was very rare – other than by saying it was the result of not getting the Cairo appointment, a claim he categorically denied.
He said he applied for the Cairo job hoping that the government would alter its policies.
As to the claim that he started his retirement procedure six months ago, long before he wrote the e-mail categorizing errors in the government’s policies, Baruch said that retirement “is not black and white,” and he hoped the situation would change.
Baruch’s current position in the ministry is nonresident ambassador to a number of countries in southern Africa.
Dan Shaham was appointed by the ministry to that post two weeks ago.
Baruch, who lost his eye in the 1967-1970 War of Attrition, joined the ministry in 1974, and – among his various positions – served as Israel’s ambassador to the Philippines, to South Africa, and as head of the Palestinian desk during the Oslo period.
Baruch said he did not quit the ministry for financial gain or to pursue politics. He said he will devote himself now to promoting co-existence between Palestinians and Israelis.