Senior FM official named as envoy to Spain

Suspended from senior ministry position few months ago for allegedly leaking information about discussion on Iran, then exonerated, Alon Bar named Israel’s next envoy to Spain.

The Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee announced Sunday that Alon Bar, who was temporarily suspended from a senior ministry position a few months ago for allegedly leaking information about a discussion on Iran, has been named Israel’s next envoy to Spain – a sign that he has been exonerated by a committee looking into the allegations.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a December interview in the Russian-language newspaper Vesti that Bar, who at the time was deputy director-general for strategic affairs, had been suspended after the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) found him responsible for a leak Lieberman said had “created tension” with the US.
In the Vesti interview, Lieberman called Bar “one of our brilliant diplomats,” but said that because of the alleged leak, he could no longer serve “in such an important position.”
According to a ministry official, a disciplinary process – carried out by the Civil Service Commission and including the Shin Bet – exonerated Bar, opening the way for his full return to senior positions inside the ministry.
Bar’s lawyer was former ministry director-general Aaron Abramovich.
Lieberman’s office had no comment on the matter Sunday evening. Bar is slated to replace Ambassador to Spain Rafi Schutz in Madrid.
The appointments committee that approved Bar and 10 other senior appointments was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
In addition to Bar, the ministry also named Ya’acov Amitai, considered one of the top Arabists in the ministry, as envoy to Egypt, replacing Yitzhak Levanon – a senior diplomat who was temporarily appointed to the position last November and is set to retire from the foreign service at the end of next year.
Ministry spokesman Yosef Levy was named ambassador to Romania, and Edward Shapiro, currently ambassador to Belarus, will become Israel’s consul-general in St. Petersburg.
The other ambassadorial appointments announced were Rafi Eldad to Brazil; Jacques Revah to Brussels; Modi Efraim to Peru; Eli Ben- Tura to Senegal; Menashe Bar- On to the Philippines; Shmulik Bass to El Salvador; and Barnea Hasid as consul-general in Marseilles.
The appointments must now go to the cabinet for final approval, and – if approved – they will go into effect next summer and fall.