Netanyahu said to remove Prime Minister’s Office veteran because she served Bennett

Linor Ofir, bureau administrator at the PMO, previously worked for a decade under Netanyahu in trusted position, but then stayed on at the office when he was ousted in 2021

View of the Prime Minister's Office in the government quarter in Jerusalem, on March 6, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
View of the Prime Minister's Office in the government quarter in Jerusalem, on March 6, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A senior administrator who previously worked for a decade with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been removed from her post at his office, allegedly because she stayed on to also work for past premier Naftali Bennett, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Linor Ofir, the bureau administrator in the Prime Minister’s Office, was trusted enough by Netanyahu to be included in the so-called “aquarium,” the group of people permitted to have the closest physical access to the prime minister.

After Bennett ousted Netanyahu in the 2021 elections, ending the latter’s run of 12 years in power, Ofir stayed on to work with the new prime minister.

Sources told Kan that those in Netanyahu’s orbit were unhappy that Ofir continued in her job under Bennett and that is why she was moved out. The report did not say if Ofir was given another position instead.

The Monday report came the day after Kan said that three other officials in the PMO were moved out, allegedly over doubts about their fidelity to Netanyahu.

The most senior of the three is Michal Yaniv, the overseas visits coordinator at the PMO. She was to be replaced by Yossi Kasparius, an adviser considered close to the Netanyahu family.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a cabinet meeting on the state budget, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on February 23, 2023. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool)

Both of the other women worked under Yaniv in her department and were removed on suspicion that they were “not faithful enough to Netanyahu,” the unsourced report said.

Yaniv was a professional appointment through a government tender.

All three were transferred to the National Security Council where they will handle visits abroad by the council head, Tzahi Hanegbi. According to the report, the terms of employment, including wages, of the workers will remain the same but they were required to physically transfer to a different building.

Shortly after returning to power in January, Netanyahu fired three veteran motorcade drivers who had also worked under Bennett and his successor, previous prime minister Yair Lapid. The drivers had been employed at the PMO for roughly 30 years and were all slated to testify in Netanyahu’s ongoing corruption trial at the Jerusalem District Court. The PMO denied any link between their firing and the trial.

Reports at the time said that Netanyahu was clearing house of staff who served in the previous government in order to ensure the loyalty of those working for him.

Later that month, Deputy Attorney General Gil Limon instructed the PMO to reinstate the drivers.

Following an investigation into the matter, Limon wrote to PMO Director General Yossi Shelley that the decision to fire the drivers was in violation of a conflict-of-interest agreement signed by the premier’s chief of staff, Tzachi Braverman, which barred him from making decisions regarding witnesses in Netanyahu’s trial.

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