Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Israel’s ambassador to France resigns to protest Netanyahu government

In letter on Twitter, Yael German cites new government’s ‘extremist positions’ going against her conscience

A group of more than 100 Israeli diplomats have written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing concern about his new government’s proposed policies, while Israel’s ambassador to France resigned Thursday in a similar act of protest. 

The group letter expressed “profound concern at the serious damage to Israel’s foreign relations, its international standing and its core interests abroad” if Netanyahu’s plans proceed as expected. Signatories included Nimrod Barkan, who served as ambassador to Canada under the last Netanyahu-led government; Jeremy Issacharoff, Israel’s ambassador to Germany; Pini Avivi, former ambassador to Turkey; Colette Avital, a former Labor politician and veteran diplomat; and Avi Gil, former director general of ministry of foreign affairs.

The group warned that “expected changes in Israeli policy in Judea-Samaria/the West Bank” along with “extreme and discriminatory laws” targeting minorities in Israel and other policies would not only harm the country’s democratic values but could also harm relations with the U.S., disrupt the Abraham Accords and even hurt investment in Israel.

Yael German, the ambassador to France, wrote in her letter: “The statements of the ministers in your government and the intentions of their legislation go against my conscience, my worldview, and the underlying promises of the declaration of independence of a Jewish and democratic state.” The letter, which she posted to Twitter on Thursday, was written in Hebrew and translated by the Forward.

German wrote that she was proud to represent the outgoing government of Prime Minister Yair Lapid, but said Netanyahu’s government includes extremists.

Netanyahu took the oath of office Thursday after winning a 63-54 vote of confidence from the Knesset. His government is considered one of the most conservative, both in terms of politics and religious issues, in Israeli history.

It’s not unusual for ambassadors to resign when government leadership changes or when conflicts arise over policies or personalities.

In 2019, the British ambassador to Washington, Kim Darroch, resigned after then-President Donald Trump called him a “pompous fool” in response to leaked memos in which Darroch described Trump’s administration as “inept.”

In 2018, John Feeley resigned from his post as ambassador to Panama under Trump. Reuters quoted Feeley’s resignation letter as stating: “I signed an oath to serve faithfully the president and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies. My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come.”

In 2018, Nikki Haley resigned from her post as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, but her reasons for leaving were never made entirely clear.

Zach Golden and Jacob Kornbluh contributed to this report, which has been updated.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.