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Who Needs the Strategic Affairs Ministry?

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The expected change of government is an excellent opportunity to reassess the function of and need for the Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy. The combination of public diplomacy and strategy was tailored to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan as a kind of compensation for the unattractiveness of the Public Security Ministry, which Erdan initially rejected. During Erdan’s time at the ministry alongside Sima Vaknin-Gil, until recently its director general, two parallel processes took place: While the budget of the Strategic Affairs Ministry grew and grew, the budget of the Foreign Affairs Ministry shrank considerably. On the one hand a political Foreign Ministry was set up, and on the other, Israeli diplomats’ ability to act effectively was neutered.

This is not coincidental. The staff of the Foreign Affairs Ministry was trained to represent the State of Israel. They know that to provide diplomatic protection for Israel, they must create a unique fit suitable for the place, time and target audience. And yet, the Netanyahu government wanted to reinforce the narrative of the Israeli right wing – in Israel and abroad – and to do this he had to mark an international enemy to be fought for cohesion’s sake. That’s how the perfect demon was found: the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

BDS was never a significant boycott movement. Yes, it had some influence in the academic world, and its representatives even managed to persuade the New Zealand singer Lorde to cancel her appearance in Israel. Yes, it........

© Haaretz