Transportation Minister Miri Regev's candidate for director-general of her ministry, Moshe Ben Zaken, drew fire on Thursday due to a Facebook post he wrote in 2016 saying a fallen soldier was "not a hero," according to KAN news.
The post was talking about Roi Klein, who was killed in the Battle of Bint Jbeil in the Second Lebanon War after jumping on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers.
Ben Zaken claimed that Klein put other soldiers at risk in the post.
Eli Ben Shem, the chairman of the Yad Labanim soldiers memorial organization, called on Regev not to appoint Ben Zaken, stating that he "does not meet the most basic requirement - respecting the memory of fallen soldiers."
"For years I have been fighting to keep dealing with bereavement out of the political discourse, but this event is unusual by any standard," said Ben Shem, according to KAN. "Disregarding management experience or one degree or another, Moshe Ben Zaken does not meet the most basic Israeli threshold condition - respecting the memory of the fallen and their legacy. These things are always true, but all the more so when it comes to Israel's hero Roi Klein. I know and cherish Minister Miri Regev and I am convinced that she did not know about these statements, but now that they have been revealed, I am officially calling on her on behalf of the entire bereaved family: withdraw his candidacy immediately."
In 2016, after publishing the post, Ben Zaken was reprimanded and apologized. At the time, he served as an advisor to then-defense minister Bogi Ya'alon.
Regev intends to push appointment forward despite disqualification
On Wednesday, Regev announced that she intends to bring her appointment for director-general of the ministry to the government for approval, despite the Public Service Senior Appointments Advisory Committee deeming him “unqualified” for the job.
Directors-general are the minister’s personal appointments, and therefore the committee’s purpose is to make sure the appointee has the necessary qualifications. The committee does not publish its recommendations.
Ben Zaken served in the past as chief of staff for Regev and is currently CEO of a fund that encourages and develops the construction sector in Israel. He is also deputy CEO of the Israel Builders Association.
“This is an important test for all members of the government and I expect his appointment to be approved unanimously,” Regev added in a veiled threat to her fellow ministers.
Despite Regev's insistence, the appointment is not on the agenda for the cabinet meeting on Sunday, according to KAN news.
Eliav Breuer contributed to this report.