Israeli ambassador found naked, drunk

US-born envoy to El Salvador recalled after he was discovered tied up.

The Foreign Ministry's workers committee sent a letter to the ministry's director-general asking that all the details in the case of the ambassador to El Salvador reportedly found naked, bound, gagged and drunk in the yard of the ambassador's residence in San Salvador be thoroughly checked before further disciplinary action is taken against him. Ministry spokesman Yariv Ovadia said the facts of the incident needed to be clarified before the ministry would determine what, if any, further disciplinary steps should be taken against Tsuriel Raphael, who has since been recalled as Israel's envoy to El Salvador. Ovadia said Monday, after details of the incident appeared in Ma'ariv, that Raphael was recalled because this type of behavior was "unbecoming" an Israeli diplomat. He said that although Raphael did not break any laws and no charges were filed against him in El Salvador, it was clear that in these circumstances he could no longer represent Israel effectively in El Salvador. According to the report in Ma'ariv, police in El Salvador found the ambassador wearing accessories indicating sado-masochistic acts. Although drunk, the paper reported, Raphael identified himself as the Israeli ambassador. Yariv said he was discovered by police who were responsible for the embassy. Raphael has worked in the Foreign Ministry since 1981, and was named ambassador to El Salvador in October 2006. The Foreign Ministry is already in the process of finding a replacement. Ovadia said the ministry does not investigate the sex lives of its representatives before they are sent abroad, and that there was nothing in Raphael's past that set any alarm bells ringing in the ministry. He said that as part of a thorough security clearance carried out by the security services on anyone sent abroad, they are asked whether or not they are gay. He said that this was done to prevent possible blackmail, and that the information was not asked for by the ministry and had no relevance on postings abroad. In June 2006, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss published a report that harshly criticized the system of making diplomatic appointments and promoting employees in the ministry. In the report, the comptroller wrote that the appointments committee "is not properly staffed, lacks criteria for examining candidates, is not transparent and there is reason to believe that in some cases the committee was just a rubber stamp for decisions that had already been made."