Five diplomatic missions are to be closed as Israel’s Foreign Ministry is in the midst of a severe manpower shortage, primarily due to budgetary shortfalls & low salaries.
By Itamar Eichner
The Foreign Ministry Appointments Council on Monday appointed 22 people to 22 different positions in Israeli diplomatic posts around the world. There were only 22 candidates to begin with – one applying to each position.
The rest of the positions are in countries considered “difficult,” such as Ethiopia, India, Peru, Nigeria, Kenya, and Nepal, where their tasks are seen as nearly impossible.
This illustrates the scope of the deep manpower crisis in which the Foreign Minister finds itself. The crisis can be traced back to two problems: first, there are not enough people filling the positions at the lower levels of the Ministry, and second, the few that exist don’t want to serve outside of Israel due to the low salary.
“The continuous neglect mirrors the deep contempt for Israeli foreign relations,” the Foreign Ministry Workers Council claimed.
“Additional manpower cuts by the ministry are criminally negligent, and the citizens of Israel pay the price for it every day. The council has been sounding the alarm for a long time that the disgraceful treatment of Israeli diplomats is causing mass abandonment. The non-implementation of wage agreements – which have already been signed – is leading to a crisis.”
The positions were filled by diplomatic corps cadets, who are inexperienced and at the beginning of their careers. Many of the positions on offer for these new diplomats are quite attractive, such as the consul-general in Montreal, first secretary of the Israeli delegation to the UN, deputy consul-general in Atlanta, deputy ambassador to Lithuania, deputy ambassador to Serbia, and deputy ambassador to Panama.
Even with these 22 positions being filled, there are still many open positions in Israeli embassies all over the world.
“People don’t want to work outside the country and actually lose money,” the Counsel said. “There is a shortage of workers at the lower level because there aren’t enough diplomatic corps candidates courses.”
A high-ranking ambassador working abroad added: “I’m speaking from the heart. It hurts me that Israel is eliminating the foreign service and prohibits us from representing the country effectively.”
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that “the positions noted are positions tha were designated for the candidates at the beginning of their training. It’s important to note that the Foreign Ministry does indeed find itself with an acute manpower shortage – primarily in regards to filling positions outside of Israel. The shortage is due to the wide ranging cutbacks which were made to the Ministry in recent years, and even the 10 diplomatic missions which were recently opened are facing shortages.
“The Ministry expects that in the next annual budget, manpower resources will be increased, so that representative positions outside of the country will be filled by professionals, and to ensure that the diplomatic missions can carry out their duties,” continued Nahshon.
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