Foreign Ministry bans contact between diplomats, local press
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Foreign Ministry bans contact between diplomats, local press

Prohibition issued following leak about Arab states’ decision to refrain from crackdown on Israel’s nuclear program

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Former director-General of the Foreign Ministry Dore Gold at a Knesset committee meeting in Jerusalem, July 25, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Former director-General of the Foreign Ministry Dore Gold at a Knesset committee meeting in Jerusalem, July 25, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold on Thursday prohibited all Israeli diplomats from speaking with Israeli press, in an apparent effort to clamp down on leaks.

The prohibition came after Haaretz reported earlier in the day that Arab states were planning, during the upcoming general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in September, to refrain from an annual vote on monitoring Israel’s nuclear program.

The information was leaked to Haaretz by Foreign Ministry officials, who put the development down to the recent warming of ties between Israel and Egypt.

According to a senior source in the Foreign Ministry, Gold was furious over the leak and called an urgent meeting, after which a communication was sent to all Foreign Ministry employees in Israel and abroad detailing the new procedures.

“In light of recent events, in which unauthorized contact with Israeli journalists was made, we seek to repeat and refine the rule,” the communication, which was also leaked to Haaretz, said.

“No contact is to be made by ministry workers in Israel or abroad with any representatives of the Israeli press. In any request by an Israeli journalist you must turn to the ministry spokesman and receive instructions.”

The media prohibition was the latest move in a drive by Gold and the ministry’s chief of staff, Shimon Shapira, to crack down on contact between workers and members of the media, the report said.

 

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