Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said that he was firing Former New York Consul General Assaf Zamir on Twitter on Thursday after Zamir had already quit and returned to Israel.
"Assaf Zamir announced on Twitter that he was quitting, but wanted to continue his position for an unspecified amount of time," wrote Cohen in the tweet.
"I decided to fire him immediately," continued Cohen. "A diplomat who takes a political side cannot represent the state of Israel for even one day."
Almost immediately after Cohen posted the tweet, Zamir contradicted his claims with a selfie clearly showing that he was in Israel, and wrote: "Eli, I am already in Israel. What's up?"
אלי, אני כבר בארץ. מה נסגר? https://t.co/KAGUZZeg7y pic.twitter.com/7TUIE9TNpV— Asaf Zamir אסף זמיר (@asafzamir) March 30, 2023
Zamir announced his resignation on Sunday following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's firing of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after Gallant spoke out against the controversial judicial reform that Netanyahu's coalition has been making into law despite countrywide protests.
The past 18 months as Israel’s Consul General in New York were fulfilling and rewarding, but following today’s developments, it is now time for me to join the fight for Israel's future to ensure it remains a beacon of democracy and freedom in the world. Here is the letter I sent: pic.twitter.com/Sfz8y3ALLv— Asaf Zamir (@AmbAsafZamir) March 26, 2023
Zamir is the third envoy to take this step. Former ambassador to France Yael German resigned in December to protest the government’s policies, and the ambassador to Canada, Ronen Hoffman, did so in January.
All three were appointed by the past government headed by former prime ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.
Zamir's summons to Jerusalem
One week before his resignation, Zamir was summoned to Jerusalem to explain his reportedly anti-judicial reform comments made at a public event.
“We are in a very dramatic period. I have been in New York explaining Israel, representing Israel for the last 18 months. Sometimes it’s things I agree with and sometimes it’s things that I do not agree with,” Zamir said.
But during the last few weeks, he explained, he had become “deeply concerned about the direction the country is going in right now.
“If we want a national home and we want it to be everyone’s home, it has to be democratic,” he added.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.