Israeli US envoy Dermer chided for boosting Netanyahu’s campaign

Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, was reprimanded by an Israeli government commission for supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection bid.

In December, Dermer gave an interview to American Fusion Television, a network aimed at Hispanic Americans, in which he was asked about the upcoming Israeli elections in March. In response, Dermer, a close Netanyahu ally, said when Israelis “look at all the people that stand for the leadership of the country, that they will have confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu,” according to Haaretz.

Dermer, as a state employee, is forbidden from “promoting the interest of any particular party or candidate,” according to rules publicized earlier in December by Israel’s Civil Service Commission.

Left-wing Meretz lawmaker Issawi Freij sent a complaint to the commission regarding the interview, demanding disciplinary action. After discussing the incident with Dermer, the commission called it a “one-time mistake,” noted that the interview was not directed at an Israeli audience, and placed a disciplinary note in Dermer’s personnel file, according to Haaretz.