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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

There goes the only guy doing any creative hasbara

There's only one senior Israeli government official who is doing any kind of creative hasbara (public relations) and that is Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Now, Ayalon has been left off his party's Knesset list for the upcoming elections.
Ayalon responded to his having been left off the Yisrael Beytenu list, saying he would continue to work to advance Israel's interests.
"Today I received from the chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, Avigdor Liberman, the announcement that I would not be on the Yisrael Beytenu list for the next Knesset," Ayalon wrote on his Facebook page.
"In the past four years I was able to serve as Israel's deputy foreign minster during a complicated and challenging time...I will continue to work for the prosperity and strengthening of Israel in the diplomatic, security and economic arenas," Ayalon stated.
He added that he would continue to work hard in his current role until the end of his term.
But why? Why would the number 2 person in Yisrael Beiteinu be unceremoniously dumped? (The party has no primary so this was clearly a decision of Avigdor Lieberman). Here's some speculation.
Israeli political consultant Jonny Daniels told The Algemeiner that the move was political. “Basically Ayalon doesn’t bring any seats to LBet (Lieberman’s party Likud Beiteinu). He was a token Israeli that added to them. Now Lieberman with Bibi has enough people that have good English and can appeal to that crowd,” he said.
But there may have been a personal aspect as well says Daniels, “It’s also a known fact that Lieberman and Ayalon didn’t get on that well.”
I'd bet on the second explanation. Ayalon was put into the foreign ministry as Lieberman's deputy (usually deputies don't come from the same party) for three reasons. First, Lieberman's English was not regarded as top notch while Ayalon as a former Ambassador to the US speaks English fluently. Lieberman's English has improved.

Second, Lieberman had a criminal investigation hanging over him which is now likely to be dismissed. Having Ayalon as his deputy meant that if Lieberman had to resign (and at the beginning of the present government there was constant speculation regarding what would happen if he had to resign), there was someone else from his party who would be a natural to step into his place. Now, that's not necessary.

And third, Lieberman may just be tired of hearing that Ayalon is de facto foreign minister except when Bibi is filling that role.

So Ayalon is out. Here's betting he lands in the Likud by the next election.

In the meantime, let's hope Ayalon keeps doing hasbara or someone else picks up the ball.

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