Staff at Israel’s Foreign Ministry have been forced to suspend all work-related trips due to a budget deficit estimated to have reached NIS 350 million ($100 million).
All Israeli ambassadors have been ordered to stop their flights and to carry out their work via phone or email, Yedioth Ahronoth reported yesterday. The Israeli Ambassador to Italy was reportedly denied finances for internal travel, while orders were given to Israeli consuls in New York, USA, not to carry out overseas visits unless absolutely necessary. If this was the case, the consuls were advised to travel on the day of their meeting in order to save on hotel fees.
The order also included the security department, where flights were strictly cancelled. Only technicians will be allowed to travel to repair urgent faults inside the embassies.
Israeli embassies have also not been granted a budget to celebrate Israel’s 71st “Independence Day” in May.
The foreign ministry had hoped that the flight suspension would be lifted after the finance ministry approved its budget, but though meetings were held yesterday to discuss the matter – including with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – no progress was made.