PM extends attaché’s term despite Eshel role

Another official in Prime Minister’s Office reprimanded for showing pictures from Eshel’s phone to other employees.

Netanyahu, Maj.-Gen. Yohanan Locker (R) 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Netanyahu, Maj.-Gen. Yohanan Locker (R) 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked his military attaché, Maj.-Gen. Yohanan Locker, to stay in his position until the end of the year, despite Locker’s involvement in the Natan Eshel affair.
Locker, along with cabinet secretary Tzvi Hauser and communications director Yoaz Hendel, took complaints they heard from R, a female worker in the Prime Minister’s Office, against Eshel – Netanyahu’s trusted chief of staff – to former attorney-general Menachem Mazuz for his advice. Mazuz counseled them to take the matter to Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein, something Hauser and Hendel did. Those complaints led to Eshel’s eventual ouster last week.
Netanyahu publicly took the three to task at a press conference last week for going directly to the attorney-general without taking the information to him first. He told Hendel and Hauser during a meeting that he had lost his confidence in them, and Hendel resigned immediately as a result.
Locker, Netanyahu’s military attaché since January 2010, was originally supposed to have ended his term in January.
He unsuccessfully vied for the job of Air Force commander, and has been named a possible candidate for the job of military attaché in Washington.
The extension of Locker’s term fueled some speculation on Wednesday night that Netanyahu, on the eve of his visit to Washington, wanted to send a message to his office that the Eshel affair was behind him and he was not going to hold the episode against anyone else.
With the situation involving Iran tense, it is largely believed that now would be an inopportune time to bring in a new military attaché.
Meanwhile, Channel 2 reported Wednesday night that the Civil Services Commission investigated and reprimanded another official in the Prime Minister’s Office over the affair. According to the report, Eshel gave this official his phone to get it fixed. The official found on it pictures Eshel took of R, and then showed those pictures to other women in the office.
According to the report, those women then testified against Eshel during the Civil Services Commission investigation into the episode.