Former Director-General of the Foreign Ministry Alon Liel decried a decision to recall Israeli diplomats abroad who criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on social media.
Among the diplomats returning to Israel for a hearing are Israeli Ambassador to Switzerland Yigal Caspi, and two other officials at Israeli embassies in India and France, who expressed their disapproval of Netanyahu's policies on Twitter.
On Wednesday, Channel Ten revealed the tweets by the diplomats, using their personal accounts but with their personal information and indications that they were employed by the Israeli government.
The three retweeted messages by leftist Israeli journalists criticizing Netanyahu for accepting an invitation to address Congress next month on the dangers of Iran's nuclear program, and the tensions with the White House that have emerged as a result.
For example, one tweet said “Even when Netanyahu has taken the relationship with the White House to the lowest point ever, he manages to take it even lower.”
Other messages criticized Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for firing members of his Yisrael Beytenu party recently, as well as Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, calling him “messianic, violent, homophobic and anti-social.”
According to Israeli law, diplomats abroad are forbidden from expressing their opinions on politics or political issues, Foreign Ministry officials said.
Liberman, who is the diplomats' immediate superior, ordered them home to undergo a hearing. The three could be fired for their actions, the officials said.
Liel said that while their actions were “serious,” they do not warrant dismissal. Speaking to Israel Radio Thursday, he said it would be sufficient to issue letters criticizing them and attach them to their personnel file.