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Bennett appoints a new chief of staff as senior aides head for exits

Premier taps current advisor Eden Bizman to succeed Tal Gan-Zvi as third high-level staffer announces deparure

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 8, 2022 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash 90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett leads a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 8, 2022 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash 90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has appointed Eden Bizman as chief of staff, succeeding Tal Gan-Zvi, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Monday.

Bizman had served as deputy director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office for nearly a year. He previously served as deputy director-general of the State Comptroller’s Office and also as Bennett’s chief of staff when the latter was education minister. A 36-year-old father of four, Bizman earned a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s degree in business administration from Bar-Ilan University.

According to Bennett’s office, Bizman will take over as chief of staff in the coming days, pending the approval of the Civil Service Commission.

Gan-Zvi, who had advised Bennett since 2013, submitted his resignation last week.

Gan-Zvi resigned less than two weeks after Shimrit Meir, seen as a rival of Gan-Zvi’s within Bennett’s office, announced that she would leave on June 1.

Eden Bizman, appointed May 30, 2022 as chief of staff in the Prime Minister’s Office. (Koby Gideon / GPO)

Meir, senior adviser for foreign affairs, was also one of Bennett’s closest aides. However, she reportedly clashed repeatedly with Gan-Zvi and other political advisers who felt that she was trying to extend her influence into their spheres, including advising Bennett on his political strategy and responses to crises such as the coronavirus and the departure of MK Idit Silman from the coalition, the Ynet news site reported.

She was also seen as pulling Bennett toward the political center, to the ire of his right-wing Yamina party.

Gan-Zvi’s resignation was seen as a further sign of instability in the government, which is struggling to survive after losing its majority.

On Monday night, office chief Naomi Sasson became the third official in Bennett’s office to quit in recent weeks, as the future of his government appears increasingly shaky.

Sasson worked for Bennett from 2016 until her resignation. Bennett hailed her on Twitter on Monday night as a tireless adviser.

Bennett also named Keren Hajioff as special adviser on foreign affairs and communications. Hajioff, 32, previously served as spokesperson of the military’s Northern Command and as head of public diplomacy in the Israel Defense Forces. She previously served as Bennett’s spokesperson for foreign media.

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