Senior Netanyahu aide reportedly resigning

Senior Netanyahu aide reportedly resigning

Ron Dermer, one of the prime minister’s closest confidants, unexpectedly set to step down in March

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

A senior, much-trusted adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will unexpectedly be stepping down next month, it was reported Thursday.

Ron Dermer, an American-born political consultant and one of Netanyahu’s closest confidants, is to leave his post after US President Barack Obama’s visit in March, Maariv reported.

Dermer was not available for comment. The Prime Minister’s Office had no comment on the matter, either.

Dermer, who immigrated to Israel from Florida in 1998, has served under Netanyahu since 2009 as senior adviser in the Prime Minister’s Bureau, where he functioned as liaison to the White House, English-language speechwriter and other roles.

Maariv claimed that Dermer was stepping down due to fatigue from the job’s heavy workload. There was no confirmation of that assertion, however, and some insiders familiar with Dermer and his approach to his job said they doubted that this was the case. Dermer has been an indefatigable presence in the Netanyahu bureau, they said, and had given no indication of a desire to step down.

In December, Makor Rishon reported that Dermer was set to replace Michael Oren as Israel’s ambassador to the United States, a claim denied by the embassy.

Dermer’s is the latest in a string of resignations by senior PMO officials. Last week Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser announced his resignation, and last February, National Information Directorate Secretary Yoaz Hendel and military adviser Yohanan Locker stepped down. Their resignations were reportedly tied to sexual misconduct claims against Netanyahu’s bureau chief Natan Eshel, who was forced to leave his post.

A Tablet magazine feature last year said Dermer “has done more to shape Israel’s relationship with the United States, its Arab neighbors, and the Palestinians over the past few years than any man aside from the prime minister himself.”

Married with four children, Dermer is an engaging and effective advocate for Netanyahu’s world view, one insider said.

He co-wrote Natan Sharansky’s bestselling “The Case for Democracy” and had previously served in Israel’s Washington Embassy as minister for economic affairs.

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