Israel’s UK voice: worst job in world?

The hostility of the British media is hampering the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s attempts to appoint a new press spokesman to its London embassy, the JC understands.

Lior Ben Dor left his role last week, but a replacement is yet to be found.

At least one non-diplomat is known to have been approached to take on the job, but turned it down.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “It is not a case of London being a job that nobody wants, but everyone knows it is a tough job. That does not mean no one wants to do it.”

It is thought the Foreign Ministry is now searching for someone with advanced experience and understanding of the British media.

Mr Ben Dor fired a parting shot last week in the JC, claiming that the media’s “illegitimate criticism of Israel borders on antisemitism”.

He expressed particular unhappiness over coverage in the Guardian and the Independent, as well as elements of the BBC. Diplomatic changeovers usually take place in August. But Mr Ben Dor has already moved to Buenos Aires where he will be Israel’s deputy ambassador to Argentina.

Mr Palmor said: “London and Paris are two of the most important jobs.

“Madrid is more challenging than being in London, but we found someone. It’s not that people are afraid, it’s about finding the right person.”

Asked how significant the hostility was in making it more difficult to appoint someone, he said: “London has a reputation of being a difficult job because of the general conditions. It’s not easy. But that’s not a reason to give in.

“In general, it’s a difficult job being an Israeli diplomat. We are not here for the fun of it.

“It’s exciting to do this kind of high-profile, high-maintenance job almost everywhere around the world. Each position has its own challenges. It’s not a job for idlers.”

On Tuesday, the latest meeting of the Ministry’s appointments committee again failed to make a decision about the London post.

    Last updated: 10:54am, June 25 2009