Bennett taps new public affairs chief at PM’s office, a post unfilled since 2015

Veteran news editor Elad Tene to head Public Diplomacy department; recent state comptroller report cited unmanned office in connection with confusion of messaging during pandemic

Elad Tene. (courtesy)
Elad Tene. (courtesy)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday tapped a longtime news editor to serve as head of public affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office, a post that has been unfilled since 2015.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the nomination of Elad Tene, who heads the Kan public broadcaster’s online division, will be brought for government approval at an upcoming cabinet meeting.

“In light of Tene’s long experience and his in-depth familiarity with the traditional and digital media in Israel, Prime Minister Bennett has decided to appoint him to the position of Head of Public Diplomacy,” a statement from the PMO said.

Tene, 49, a captain in reserves in the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit, resides in the central city of Modiin.

He has led various media positions over the years, including the position at Kan for the last six. Previously, he was the deputy editor of the Ma’ariv daily, editor of the nrg news site, and an editor of the Makor Rishon weekly. He was also a founding member of the Ynet news site, and served in editing positions there for five years.

In an August state comptroller report, the issue of the Public Affairs Department was brought to light amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the office being unmanned, crucial coronavirus-related information coming from various governmental, and military departments, were not being coordinated.

For most of 2020, the Health Ministry and the IDF Home Front Command issued much of the same information twice, which caused not only confusion, but also the waste of public funds, the report said.

The previous person to officially head the office was Liran Dan. He served between 2012 and 2015, under then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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