Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister, David Amsalem, has responded to accusations of nepotism after it was revealed that he had attempted to appoint friends and personal acquaintances to government positions. Amsalem, a member of the ruling Likud party, claimed that it is within his job description to appoint directors and that he selects individuals whom he knows and holds in high esteem.
Amsalem’s remarks came after a clash with Michal Rosenbaum, the director of the Government Companies Authority, who reportedly rejected his appointment suggestions for several government companies. Amsalem called for Rosenbaum to be terminated from her position, citing her refusal to comply with his requests. The Companies Authority is responsible for overseeing the supervision, enforcement, and control of major corporations in Israel.
Opposition leader Merav Michaeli condemned Amsalem’s actions, calling it an example of government corruption and looting the public purse. Idan Roll of the Yesh Atid party also criticized Amsalem, alleging that he views the Authority as a source of job opportunities that he currently cannot exploit due to Rosenbaum’s oversight. MK Sharren Haskel of the National Unity party accused the government of prioritizing their cronies instead of serving the public.
Amsalem, however, defended his call for Rosenbaum’s removal by characterizing her as aggressive and disrespectful. He claimed that she had disregarded his instructions, leading to conflicts between them. Rosenbaum, on the other hand, regarded Amsalem’s demands as illegitimate, particularly regarding appointments and wages.
The ongoing dispute has resulted in the freezing of appointments for around 300 positions on 70 boards of directors. As a consequence, some companies are unable to form a quorum necessary for making important decisions at the board level. This impasse highlights the impact of the dispute on the functioning of these organizations.
Amsalem’s position as Regional Cooperation Minister and his close alliance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have given him significant influence within the government. Amsalem had requested that the Government Companies Authority be placed under his control as a condition for joining Netanyahu’s cabinet. Previously, the authority fell under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry.
In conclusion, Regional Cooperation Minister David Amsalem has faced accusations of nepotism regarding his attempts to appoint friends and acquaintances to government positions. Amsalem defended his actions, stating that it is within his authority to make such appointments and that he selects individuals whom he holds in high esteem. The clash with Michal Rosenbaum and subsequent freezing of appointments have underscored the controversy surrounding this issue.