A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Now Lieberman in Feud with His Own Ministry

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, no stranger to controversy, now seems to be in a feud with his own Foreign Ministry, which, of course, he heads. According to this report in this morning's Haaretz, a number of highly critical reports about Foreign Ministry officials and serving diplomats have appeared on a Russian-language website known as IzRus. Lieberman is himself Belarussian and his party, Yisrael Beitenu, draws much of its support from Russian immigrants, so the Foreign Ministry staff apparently believe Lieberman is behind the leaks.

It would appear these charges are not just of ordinary misconduct or corruption, according to the report in Haaretz quoting the website:
Several very negative reports about the ministry appeared on IzRus, considered one of Israel's five leading Russian-language Web sites, in the past few days. But the diplomats' anger reached its peak Wednesday morning, after the publication of an uncredited article, with the headline: "Orgies, bribery and fights in the Foreign Ministry: The Liebermans would not be accepted there."

The story claimed the ministry and its overseas missions are fertile ground for "orgies, sex with minors, sexual harassment and bribery." The author even claimed that most of the cases are still being hidden from the public. In addition, the writer accused the ministry of discriminating against immigrants, and Russian-speakers in particular, in appointments and admittance to the diplomat training course. The article also states, however, that Lieberman's appointment as foreign minister has changed the situation, increasing optimism among Israeli diplomats with a Russian background. "Native-born Israelis, especially at the highest levels, were scared their property had passed into foreign hands," the unknown author wrote.

After senior officials demanded that Gal reply to the vilification, the director-general's office told Haaretz Wednesday: "We are disgusted by the claims in the report on the IzRus Internet site and deny them completely. Foreign Ministry employees are a dedicated and professional group that operates around the world day and night to advance the affairs of Israel."
Lieberman's tour as Foreign Minister continues to be, well, interesting. I have no idea if he is in any way involved personally in these charges, and since I don't read Russian I won't link to the site lest I link to something inappropriate.

No comments: