ISRAEL’S embassy in Australia has re-opened after temporarily closing last week due to a disagreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance.
“Due to the decision of the Ministry of Finance to violate agreements reached and signed by the Director-General of the Ministry on July 21, 2019, and to unilaterally enforce upon diplomats abroad a procedure that contradicts a decades-old procedure, we are forced to close the embassy,” the embassy said in a statement last Wednesday.
“No services will be provided to the public and no entry to the embassy will be allowed.”
Staff said they work to promote the status and strength of the State of Israel, but that the Ministry of Finance has left them with no choice by harming the tools essential to them and the State of Israel.
“We hope the matter will be settled as soon as possible.”
On Monday, the embassy announced it had “returned to normal operating hours”.
The Embassy of Israel reopened on Friday 1st November and has returned to normal operating hours.
— Israeli-Embassy inOZ (@IsraelinOZ) November 4, 2019
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said last week he hoped the dispute was resolved quickly so that embassy staff can continue their vital work.
“In our experience, the diplomats posted to Australia have been of the highest calibre and have worked ceaselessly to deepen the historic bonds between our two countries and between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora,” Ryvchin said.
“We certainly hope this dispute can be resolved swiftly so that the dedicated diplomats and staff at the embassy in Canberra and in embassies and consulates around the world can resume their invaluable work.”
Jeremy Jones, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council’s director of international affairs, said this is clearly a problematic situation.
“The budget of Israel is obviously determined by the government, but from an outsider’s perspective it would appears as if the Foreign Ministry is under-resourced,” Jones told The AJN.
“Those of us who have worked with representatives of the ministry in Israel and abroad, have always appreciated the extraordinary efforts made to serve their country.”