The Deputy Chief of Mission of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., Dan Arbell, was recently relieved of his duties by Foreign Ministry Director General Rafael Barak, after Arbell admitted he had leaked sensitive information to the press.
It is not known whether Arbell, who has been at the ministry for more than 20 years and has held several senior postings, will return to Israel or whether he will be reassigned within the ministry.
Senior Foreign Ministry officials said Arbell’s dismissal is the latest episode in a witch hunt that began two years ago and has escalated since Barak took over as director general, targeting anyone suspected of holding contacts with journalists. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Barak has endeavored to insulate the ministry from the media and to exclude many high-ranking figures in the ministry from official activities.
On Tuesday, Barak sent a memorandum to all ministry employees in Israel and abroad, titled “End of employment due to leak.” He explained his wish to brief the recipients about “a serious matter regarding unauthorized contacts with journalists, as a result of which I was forced to take a professional measure against a respected, senior, high-ranking employee and to remove him from his position.”