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Political paralysis stymies appointment of Israel envoy

    Daniel Taub (right) is amused by the leaving gifts presented by Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush this week
    Daniel Taub (right) is amused by the leaving gifts presented by Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush this week

    Israel will be without an ambassador in London for the foreseeable future due to bureaucratic delays.

    As the outgoing envoy, Daniel Taub, returns to Jerusalem this week after four years in the UK, Israeli officials blamed the lack of a full-time foreign minister and a wider political paralysis for a backlog of embassy appointments.

    In addition to Britain, new ambassadors have yet to be announced for Russia, Brazil and the United Nations.

    While Israel's senior diplomats are appointed by a committee in the foreign ministry, the high-profile posts must get the nod from the foreign minister, and in some cases the prime minister as well.

    The great majority of ambassadors and consuls are civil servants and professional diplomats, but the government has a quota of 11 "political appointees". Over the past year, the election campaign and the tense relations between prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and previous foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who decided not to join the coalition, has stymied the appointment process.

    Read: Farewell, Mr Ambassador - Interview with Daniel Taub

    A total of seven Israeli ambassadors are scheduled to leave their posts this summer, with no successors in place.

    "This is no way to run an organisation, certainly not one that is supposed to be in charge of Israel's foreign policy," complained one veteran diplomat.

    The uncertainty meant that Ambassador Taub did not know until a few weeks ago whether he would be expected to serve another year in London.

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