Ron Prosor to Netanyahu: stop diplomat strike

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2011
Ron Prosor

Ron Prosor

The Israeli ambassador to Britain and twenty other veteran Israeli diplomats have called on Benjamin Netanyahu to take action over the ongoing Foreign Ministry workers' strike.

Ron Prosor was one of the signatories of the letter appealing on the Israeli Prime Minister to “save Israel's foreign service" and resolve a month-long dispute over salary levels.

Those striking claim that they should receive the same pay and benefits as Mossad staff and as workers for the defence ministry.

The strike has seen Israeli diplomats withhold consular duties, from failing to process marriages held abroad to not replying to emails.

The situation has already caused Russia to cancel a scheduled visit by President Dmitry Medvedev out of fears there would be an embarrassing diplomatic incident on his arrival.

There are also concerns about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s planned visit later this month, while a group of Israeli tourists stranded in Chile last week reported being unable to gain diplomatic help.

In a letter to Mr Netanyahu the group of diplomats said: "Just as the state needs its best men in senior positions in the defence system, it needs them in the diplomatic battlefield as well, which is becoming more important and relevant to national strength every day.”

Emphasising that Mr Netanyahu, who in the 1980s served both as a diplomat in Washington and as the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, should be sensitive to the conditions of the foreign ministry workers, they described current pay levels as “humiliating”.

In the letter, which was also sent to foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, the diplomats said: “Unfortunately, the state who knows how to adequately reward those thousands in the defence system, is not acting fairly toward us – the soldiers in suits in Israel and in the world.”

Other signatories of the letter include Meron Reuven, who serves as ambassador to the UN, and Ran Curiel, the ambassador to the EU.

Last updated: 8:44am, January 18 2011