Israel’s NY envoy quits in protest of overhaul ‘to join fight for Israel’s future’
NEW YORK – Israel’s Consul General in New York Asaf Zamir announced his resignation Sunday, saying he could no longer represent the government because of his judicial reform effort and that he is returning to Israel to take part in the protests against it.
“I believe now is the time for me to take action and join the fight for Israel’s future alongside fellow citizens, as we work together to build a better, fairer and more just Israel,” said Zamir in an open letter he posted on. the social media.
Zamir was recalled to Jerusalem last week after delivering a somewhat blunt criticism of the legislative package aimed at radically curtailing the power of the High Court of Justice at a fund-raising dinner in New York.
“I am very worried [about] the direction the country is going at the moment,” said Zamir, who was appointed by then Foreign Minister and current opposition leader Yair Lapid and who has already resigned from the Netanyahu government in protest. “If you want to have a national home and you want it to be a home for everyone, it has to be really democratic.”
The development was already an indication that Zamir’s days in the US were numbered. Two other Lapid ambassador appointees have already resigned from their posts.
“The political situation in Israel has reached a critical point, and I feel a deep sense of responsibility and moral obligation to stand up for what is right and fight for the democratic values that I have,” Zamir wrote in the open letter published on Sunday. .
The past 18 months as Israel’s Consul General in New York have been fulfilling and fulfilling, but after today’s developments, it is now time for me to join the fight for Israel’s future to ensure that it remains a symbol of democracy and freedom in the world. Here is the letter I sent: pic.twitter.com/Sfz8y3ALLv
— Asaf Zamir (@AmbAsafZamir) March 26, 2023
He pointed out that the “dangerous” decision on Sunday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ultimately convinced Defense Minister Yoav Gallant that he “can no longer continue to represent the government.”
Gallant gave a keynote address on Saturday in which he called on the government to temporarily halt the legislative overhaul, lamenting that it had fueled such a split in society that there was “penetration[ed] the IDF and security agencies.”
“I am more concerned about the new government’s policies and especially the judicial reform it is leading,” Zamir wrote. “I believe this reform undermines the foundation of our democratic system and threatens the rule of law in our country.”
“This is a critical time in Israel’s history, and although my time at the consulate has been rewarding and rewarding, I believe it is now time for me to take action and join the fight for Israel’s future alongside fellow citizens, and we work together. To build a better, fairer and more just Israel.”
Protesters welcome Asaf Zamir after his resignation as Israeli consul in New York at a rally outside the consulate pic.twitter.com/YgKiVDkm9n
— Luke Tress (@luketress) March 26, 2023
After announcing his resignation, Zamir was greeted by dozens of protesters outside the consulate office in Manhattan.
Israeli ex-pat protest groups in the area called the demonstration shortly after Zamir resigned and came to the event carrying signs that said “Thank you Asaf,” “Asaf, we are with you ,” and “saved Israel.”
The group turned “shameful” when Netanyahu’s name was mentioned and chanted, “democracy or rebellion”.
“What happened today with the firing of the defense minister was the straw that broke the back of many people and made many people realize that our country is in real danger,” Zamir told the crowd. “It’s far more right and left, it’s about the shared future of all of us in the State of Israel, it’s our societal strength, it’s our national security, and it’s our ability to see a future instead of we will try to raise our place. children.”
The demonstration ended with Zamir and the demonstrators singing the Israeli national anthem.