Israel’s envoy in NY summoned to Jerusalem over criticism of judicial overhaul

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Israel’s Consul General in New York Asaf Zamir has been summoned to Jerusalem to clarify his recent comments expressing his displeasure with the proposed judicial overhaul in Israel, a senior official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said. Foreign with the Times of Israel on Sunday.

In a speech on Thursday at a fundraising event, Zamir expressed his “extreme concern” about the direction the country is headed, in a rare criticism of government policy from a sitting diplomat and another indication of the extent of discomfort with the line. hard. the Coalition’s attempt to severely limit the power of the High Court of Justice.

“I am very worried [about] the direction the country is going at the moment,” Zamir said in remarks at a gala dinner at the ANU Museum — the Jewish Museum. “If you want to have a national home and if you want it to be a home for everyone, it has to be really democratic.”

News site Walla first published a clip of Zamir’s speech at the private event on Friday.

Zamir has been serving in New York since August 2021 after being appointed to the post by then foreign minister Yair Lapid. Zamir had spent almost a decade in politics at that point, mainly as deputy mayor of Tel Aviv, but joined Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party in 2019 and went on to serve as tourism minister during a short-term government government-led power sharing. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He resigned as minister in 2020 in protest at Netanyahu’s behavior and the coalition collapsed shortly afterwards, leading to another short-lived unity government led by Yamina, Naftali Bennett and Lapid.

Zamir has remained in New York since that government fell last June, as other diplomats appointed by Lapid – Yael German in France and Ronen Hoffman in Canada – resigned in protest against Netanyahu’s coalition policies.

The New York Consul General’s comments on Thursday indicated that Zamir may be heading in that direction.

Additional Lapid political appointments abroad include US Ambassador Mike Herzog, Ambassador to the UAE Amir Hayek, German Ambassador Ron Prosor and Ambassador to Angola Shimon Solomon. None of them have indicated to the public that they intend to resign. Each was given three-year contracts, and it is rare for a new government to recall an envoy appointed by a previous government.

Also on Sunday, the Ynet news site reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was considering ending its ties with former Israeli actress Noa Tishby, who Lapid appointed to a voluntary post as the country’s first special envoy to combat the anti-Semitism and the delegation of Israel.

Tishby wrote an op-ed earlier this month in Ynet criticizing judicial reform, and reiterated the message in an interview Friday on the HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher.”

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