Foreign Ministry strike may delay Dermer move to D.C.

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ron Dermer may take up his new diplomatic position as Israel’s next ambassador to the United States later than originally planned due to a strike by Foreign Ministry employees.

Dermer, who was officially named to the position last week, was scheduled to take up his post next month. But Foreign Ministry workers are refusing to arrange his diplomatic passport, process his transfer to Washington or arrange for his departing airplane ticket, according to the Times of Israel.

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Last month, the strike by the Foreign Ministry Workers’ Union caused a halt to consular services at Israeli embassies and consulates in the United States and around the world. The work stoppage has prevented the paperwork for families coming on aliyah this summer and threatened to prevent athletes from 14 countries from participating in the Maccabiah Games, which begin on Thursday.

Dermer, who immigrated to Israel from Florida 15 years ago,  succeeds Michael Oren, a New Jersey native. Oren announced on July 5 that he would be vacating his post in the fall.

The work stoppage is part of a nearly 4-month-old labor dispute. The workers are protesting salary cuts and poor compensation packages offered to spouses of overseas diplomats.

In addition to not having completed diplomatic paperwork, Dermer has not received a preparation course required for new diplomats . The embassy also has not requested permits from the United States needed for a new ambassador, according to the Times of Israel.