Shas chairman slams ‘problematic’ Baratz appointment

Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee, Aryeh Deri (Shas) joined a group of ministers who oppose the appointment of Ran Baratz as the National Director of Hasbarah (information diplomacy) Sunday, amid controversy over Baratz's previous statements. 

"This appointment is problematic," Deri stated to Army Radio Sunday morning. "This is indeed the prime minister's authority, but these expressions as head of public relations are problematic." 

"The Prime Minister promised that when he returns he will come and discuss the matter and will check," he added. Netanyahu is currently in Washington. "I trust the Prime Minister to make the right decision," said Deri. "It is the authority of the prime minister […] and therefore we need to give him [the chance to] handle it alone."

Netanyahu announced he would appoint Baratz last week, prompting the US to react angrily to comments he wrote on Facebook in the past about President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

After Obama reacted to the speech delivered by Netanyahu in Congress in March, Baratz wrote, "This is what modern anti-Semitism looks like in western liberal countries. And of course, it comes with a lot of tolerance and understanding toward Islamic anti-Semitism. So much tolerance and understanding, until they are even willing to give them nukes."

In October of 2014, he wrote about a speech in which Kerry "made a connection between Israel and ISIS." He wrote commented sarcastically, "After his term as secretary of state he is certain to have a flourishing career in one of the stand-up comedy clubs in Kansas City, Mosul, or the Holot detention facility." Elsewhere, he reportedly said Kerry had "the mental age of a 12-year-old."

While Baratz later apologized for the remarks, Netanyahu is reportedly reconsidering the appointment in light of widespread dissent over the choice. 


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