Foreign Ministry needs to better manage its workforce

Report finds that 65 percent of diplomatic workers do not even have academic degrees.

Riot police stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in Athens in 2012 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Riot police stand guard outside the Israeli embassy in Athens in 2012
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As Israel faces “complicated and sensitive” diplomatic challenges, it would be better served if the Foreign Ministry more effectively managed its manpower both in Jerusalem and at the 106 Israel representations abroad, the Comptroller found.
Looking into the Foreign Ministry's manpower situation, the Comptroller found that more ministry employees are leaving the service than being hired through the prestigious foreign service cadets course, something that has left the ministry short some 90 diplomatic employees in recent years.
To make matters worse, the report found, many of those in diplomatic positions both in the ministry in Jerusalem and abroad were not trained diplomats, rather administrative staff moved to those positions when the ministry implemented the government's decision in the early 2000s to cut down on government workers.
As a result of the implementation of that policy, the Comptroller found, the ministry reduced the number of cadet courses which train diplomats, and rather manned diplomatic positions both in Jerusalem and abroad with administrative workers inside the ministry, some of whom were not suited for diplomatic posts.
During the period from 2009-2011, the report found, the ministry moved 261 administrative workers to diplomatic positions, 24 percent more than were allowed under standing regulations. Fully 42%, the report found, were not suited to serve abroad, and 65% did not have academic degrees.
The Comptroller recommended that that the ministry open cadet courses not only based on its needs at the present time, but also based on forecasts of the number of people who will be leaving the foreign service in the coming years. Furthermore, the Comptroller recommended that the ministry weigh locating suitable candidates outside the Foreign Ministry for positions that it is unable to fill with suitable replacements from within.