Why Was Danny Ayalon Fired?
12/10/2012 - 16:33
Douglas Bloomfield

Danny Ayalon, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington, was a surprise choice for deputy foreign minister in the new Netanyahu government in 2009 and a bigger surprise when he was suddenly dumped this month by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Israel Hayom reported this week that Ayalon was dropped from Yisrael Beiteinu's list for next month's election because he'd met several times with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton without checking first with Lieberman, who was "infuriated" when he found out. Lieberman didn't have a very good relationship with his American counterpart, who the Israeli paper said had wanted her meetings with Ayalon kept secret from him.

The U.S.-educated Ayalon speaks fluent English; Lieberman does not.

Another version had it that Lieberman suspected his deputy of leaking information to the media behind his back.

Whatever the reason, he should have been sacked a long time ago for the damage he did to Israeli-Turkish relations. 

Turkish-Israeli relations were already in trouble in early 2010 when Ayalon summoned Turkish ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol to his Jerusalem office and made him sit on a low seat while being rebuked regarding an anti-Israeli television show.  If that weren't bad enough, Ayalon boasted of how he had humiliated the Turkish diplomat, telling an Israeli cameraman, in Hebrew, covering the event, "Pay attention that he is sitting in a lower chair ... that there is only an Israeli flag on the table and that we are not smiling."

The substance --it's unclear if that included the style --of the reprimand was apparently ordered by Lieberman and had Netanyahu's full backing. The Turks were furious and demanded an apology. Ayalon initially refused but finally complied.

That's not the ony reason the Ankara-Jerusalem relations have been going steadily downhill, but it was a shove in that direction.

The Lieberman-Ayalon team has been an embarrassment to the foreign ministry, several career diplomats have told me. They have the smaller accounts and the important countries are handled by the prime minister and the defense minister. It is no secret that Netanyahu essentially took the biggest one of all, the U.S. portfolio, away from his loose cannon foreign minister and shares it with Ehud Barak.

Lieberman, a former barroom bouncer, has been under criminal investigation by Israeli authorities for the past 14 years; prosecutors may decide prior to the January 22 election whether to drop the case or proceed with charges.  If indicted, Lieberman may have to drop out.

view counter

Comment Guidelines

The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.


oh really? remember Amir Peretz as Israel's defense minister? Shulamit Aloni as the most obnoxious and crankiest education minister. Ehud Olmert, the most corrupt one; Shas ministers going to jail. Shinui's ministers going to jail, etc. The list goes on. So when was Israel better represented? Before one makes these foolish remarks, one has to recognize that politicians are not angels and stupidity does not belong to one political party. In fact, one could have been more ashamed of the Olmert-Peretz government. Is the US that radically different? David Petraues is one example and the rest of the generals.

Unfortunately, Liberman and Ayalon, are a great indication of what is Israel representing nowadays, and how it's represented. Each pot has its cover. Wake up people and see what is being done with the name of all Jews. No matter which angle you turn it on, it stink, and we need to see that and speak up.

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.