Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Diplomatic Missions

Binyamin Rose

Diplomacy is more than just saying the right thing at the right time, or refraining from saying the wrong thing at any time. It is an art, whose brushstrokes include establishing relationships, negotiating, persuading, and also resolving conflicting interests, not the least of which is how to reconcile one’s own personal and family needs with a life on the road. Four seasoned members of Israel’s diplomatic corps tell the story of how they cope.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Being diplomatic isn’t always easy, especially under pressure. But working as a diplomat involves much more than keeping one’s cool, or being able to deliver a slick, scripted statement to the press.

As it unfolds on global turf, life in the diplomatic corps entails the excitement and rigors of world travel, but it also demands a lifetime of adjustments to new countries, faces, languages, and customs, often while moving a young and growing family every couple of years.

Israelmaintains diplomatic relations with approximately 150 nations in the world. For Israeli diplomats, an assignment to a coveted diplomatic posting overseas is the culmination of three to five years of postgraduate education and training. Only about one percent of the diplomats in training survive the grueling and competitive process.

The State Public Service Commission Tender for diplomatic posts in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the principal mechanism for recruiting diplomats into the Israeli foreign service.

All candidates must pass written examinations, undergo a special assessment, and be interviewed by a public committee. Target recruits are Israeli citizens who earned at least a BA in economics,Middle Eaststudies, international relations, or public administration.

Candidates who pass the initial muster enter a five-year cadet course, where they acquire knowledge in fields relevant to Israeli diplomacy while obtaining and polishing the skills of the trade, including mastering foreign languages, information technology, and basic diplomatic and public communications skills.

They also receive on-the-job training in various departments of the foreign ministry before being assigned an entry-level position in one ofIsrael’s missions abroad.

Advanced training during the course of a diplomat’s professional career include economics, management, and multilateral diplomacy, along with optional courses in art, music, religions, and cultures. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also dispatches diplomats for courses abroad offered by the United Nations and the European Union, or by universities such as Harvard.

Diplomats additionally receive annual ongoing training from heads of missions and government ministers. While not every diplomat advances to the rank of ambassador, which is more often than not a political appointment, there are dozens of junior-ranking officials such as consuls, who deal with citizens’ affairs, and a variety of positions for press relations, cultural attachés, and political officers.

We recently participated in a roundtable discussion with four seasoned Israeli diplomats who now work in insider positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after having been stationed overseas for several years — including a husband and wife team who met while taking the cadet course.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Out with the Girls
Yonoson Rosenblum Another progressive revolution that eats its own
And I Will Glorify Him
Eytan Kobre Herman Wouk “made G-d a bestseller”
What You've Learned
Alexandra Fleksher Allow me to let you in on what school is all about
Going Broke
Mishpacha Readers Reader feedback for “The Kids Are Going to Camp..."
Top 5 Ways Jews Try to Lose Weight
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Gaining weight and talking about losing weight
He Soaked Up Our Pain
Rabbi Yaakov Klein A tribute to Reb Shlomo Cheshin ztz”l
Leaving on a High Note
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman And then it happened. I knew it would
Family Matters
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP Not the answers they teach in medical school
Play the Night Away
Riki Goldstein May we all share simchahs, no strings attached!
Fast Thinking
Faigy Peritzman How we react when we're exempt from a mitzvah
Baalat Teshuvah
Rachel Karasenti Don’t ask, “So how did you become frum?”
Confessions of a PhD Graduate
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When it comes to parenting, we’re always learning
Dear Favorite Little Sis
Anonymous I ended up wanting to be like you
Who's Making My Phone Calls?
Sara Eisemann Should I be upfront that I’m calling for myself?