Ministry Director Dismissed Amid ‘Leftist’ Taxation Controversy

Distel Atbaryan says she is unhappy with ‘professional performance’ of Gali Sembira, who is said to have drawn ire from Likud members for her positions.

Public Diplomacy Minister Galit Distel Atbaryan fired her chief executive on Sunday after four months, reportedly because of her political beliefs.

A statement from her cabinet said that the minister had served her dismissal on Gali Sembira for “lack of professional skills”.

Israeli media recalled that Distel Atbaryan had been criticized by members of her right-wing Likud party, who opposed Sembira’s appointment because of her “left-wing” views.

According to Ynet, Sambira has taken a stand against plans to radically overhaul the justice system, an overhaul that has sparked widespread protests for months.

The statement does not specify the name of the successor to Sambira, but the news should be announced in the coming days.

According to an anonymous source quoted by Ynet, Distel Atbaryan believed that Sembira “did not do what was expected of her” and failed to install this new ministry, created by the current government in end of last year.

Two weeks ago, Walla headlined that Sembira wanted to resign, information then challenged by the ministry. The article quoted unnamed government sources as saying Sembira felt he “cannot do his job” in the ministry.

Following the departure of Sembira, the government has only one woman in a general management position for 31 ministries, Merav Stern, at the Ministry for the Advancement of Women, under the orders of Minister May Golan.

This is the first time in 20 years that there are so few women in general management positions.

The women’s rights organization Bonot Alternativa said in a statement that this situation suggests that women are not suitable for leadership positions in government.

“A government in which there are no women in key positions is a sick government, which sends a very clear message to the general public, namely that women are not competent for these types of positions. It is no wonder that in the last six months the number of women excluded from the public sphere has tripled. When the government behaves like this, the whole population follows its example,” the statement read.

This decision was taken a few hours after the approval by the Council of Ministers of the appointment of an official at the head of the cabinet of open diplomacy, within the services of the Prime Minister.

Israel is making great efforts in public diplomacy, also known as hasbara, in order to combat the country’s bad reputation and boost its image abroad. Critics say the government’s sweeping judicial overhaul and tacit support for settler violence have made Israel a pariah of the international community.

The country’s image was further tarnished last week when far-right Homeland Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said his family had more right to be in the West Bank than Palestinians, following attacks deadly terrorists targeting Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

The Biden administration and American Jewish organizations have denounced these comments, the US State Department going so far as – extremely rare – to quote him by name. In the same week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disagreed with Ben Gvir’s remarks, saying that Israel was working to ensure maximum freedom of movement for the Israeli and Palestinian populations in the West Bank.

This article is originally published on

Previous post Minister Equates Palestinians to Prisoners: Justifying Restrictions
Next post Shin Bet Chief Meets Arab Municipal Leaders: Collaboration Ahead