Israel's new consuls to be announced

Appointment of former Sharon spokesman to NY office called "political."

tzipi livni 298 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
tzipi livni 298 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Months after the Israeli media first addressed the lack of official government representation in embassies and consulates in several of the world's key cities, the Foreign Ministry was expected to publish on Sunday its list of candidates for the vacant positions. Former spokesman for Ariel Sharon Assi Shariv is expected to be named consul general for New York. The good government watchdog organization Ometz has appealed to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander in an attempt to block Shariv's nomination, arguing that his appointment is "political" and undeserved. In June, members of the ministry's workers' committee voiced harsh criticism of the appointments process. Some officials allegee that former Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom promoted cronies at the expense of others who may have been more qualified, and that he chose individuals for political appointments - such as Israel's ambassador to Hungary - who were unsuited for their positions. Knesset State Control Committee chairman Yuri Shtern (National Union) said at the time that the ministry was promoting people from its administrative division to diplomatic positions, even though they had not undergone suitable training. 'This type of advancement is unacceptable. Just as in the army it is impossible to jump from private to general, it is unacceptable that Israel should send abroad people who do not know the culture or language [of where they are serving] to represent it as ambassadors,' Shtern said. Herb Keinon contributed to this report.