Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages the diplomatic relations of the State of Israel, with missions in 162 countries. In addition to the functions expected of a national cabinet-level diplomatic department, the Ministry also maintains liaison with Jewish Diaspora communities around the world. Part of the work with such communities includes public diplomacy, including hasbara, literally "explanation" but an information operations program to disseminate information, to media and public organizations, favorable to Israeli policy.

Heading the Ministry is the Foreign Minister of Israel, a member of the Knesset and often the second most influential member of a coalition government. The incumbent is Avigdor Lieberman. Daniel Ayalon is Deputy Minister, also a Knesset member. The appointed Director General is a foreign affairs professional; Lieberman appointed Yossi Gal, who has requested an ambassadorial post after six months.

Foreign Ministers

Start End Name
May 15, 1948 Jun 18, 1956 Moshe Sharett
Jun 18, 1956 Jan 12, 1966 Golda Meir
Jan 13, 1966 Jun 02, 1974 Abba Eban
Jun 03, 1974 Jun 19, 1977 Yigal Allon
Jun 20, 1977 Oct 23, 1979 Moshe Dayan
Mar 10, 1980 Oct 20, 1986 Yitzhak Shamir
Oct 20, 1986 Dec 23, 1988 Shimon Peres
Dec 23, 1988 Jun 12, 1990 Moshe Arens
Jun 13, 1990 Jul 13, 1992 David Levy
Jul 14, 1992 Nov 22, 1995 Shimon Peres
Nov 22, 1995 Jun 18, 1996 Ehud Barak
Jun 18, 1996 Jan 6, 1998 David Levy
Oct 13, 1998 Jul 6, 1999 Ariel Sharon
Jul 6, 1999 Aug 4, 2000 David Levy
Aug 10, 2000 Mar 7, 2001 Shlomo Ben-Ami
Mar 7, 2001 Nov 2, 2002 Shimon Peres
Nov 6, 2002 Feb 28, 2003 Benjamin Netanyahu
Feb 28, 2003 Jan 16, 2006 Silvan Shalom
Jan 18, 2006 Mar 31, 2009 Tzipi Livni
Mar 31, 2009 Avigdor Liberman


The Director-General's immediate office assists in management of the Ministry in its diverse activities, as well as special operations. It also handles relations with other Ministries and the Israeli Defense Forces. Five bureaus are subordinate to the Director-General's Bureau:

  • Coordination Bureau
  • Protocol and Official Guests
  • World Jewish Affairs
  • Religious Affairs
  • Personnel Training and Development
Start End Name
1948 1959 Walter Eytan
1980 1987 David Kimche
Alon Liel
2009 2009 Yossi Gal


Each of the following is headed by a Deputy Director-General:

  • Middle East Division: Israeli-Arab relations, including coordination of multilateral and bilateral talks
  • North America Division deals with the United States and Canada.
  • Western Europe Division comprises four departments:
    • Europe 1 (Portugal, Germany, Spain, France, the Benelux countries and Italy)
    • Europe 2 (Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Switzerland and Austria)
    • Europe 3 (European organizations, NATO, Council of Europe, and European Union)
    • Europe 4 (Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland)
  • Division for Central Europe and Eurasia comprises two departments:
    • Central Europe
    • Eurasia
  • Division for Asia and the Pacific
    • Southeast Asia (India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangaladesh and Pakistan )
    • Northeast Asia (China, Japan, Mongolia, and South Korea)
    • Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific islands).
  • Africa Division
    • Africa 1 (North Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea, Nigeria, Zaire, Congo-Brazzaville, and Tanzania);
    • Africa 2 (South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, and Madagascar).
  • Division for Central and South America and the Caribbean comprises two divisions:
    • South America Department
    • Department for Central America and the Caribbean
  • Division for International Organizations and the United Nations
    • International Organizations 1 (international organizations, labor, health, UNESCO, tourism, immigration, communications, refugees, UNICEF, Third Committee of the UN)
    • International Organizations 2 (political issues in the UN General Assembly and UN committees, Security Council, Israel-UN relations, peacekeeping forces, UNRWA, Red Cross, UNDP, PoWs and MiAs)
    • International Organizations 3 (Third World, economics, UNIDO, UNCTAD, nongovernmental organizations and Human Rights: human-rights issues, UN Commission on Human Rights, and relations with human-rights organizations).
  • Economic Affairs Division comprises four units:
    • Economic Department 1 (Africa, Asia, Latin America, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, aviation, and shipping)
    • Economic Department 2 (Western Europe)
    • Economic Department 3 (Eastern Europe, oil, Arab boycott)
    • Bureau for Middle Eastern Economic Affairs
  • Center for International Cooperation (MASHAV)
    • Management and Budget Department
    • Overseas Training Department
    • Overseas Projects Department
    • Department for Planning and External Relations
  • Information and Media Division
    • Public Affairs Department (audiovisual aids, productions and publications, special projects)
    • Information & Internet Department (gathering information and disseminating it in real time to missions and reporters in Israel)
    • Spokesman's Office and Press Department (relations with the Israeli and foreign press, visiting journalists);
    • Arab Media Department
    • External Relations Department (requests from the public, friendship societies, local government, municipal organizations)
    • Management and Budget Department
  • Division for Cultural and Scientific Affairs
    • Department for Cultural and Scientific Cooperation
    • Arts and Literature Department (assistance in exporting Israeli culture, literature, film, dance, music, theater, and plastic arts; aid for participation in festivals)
    • Iberian Institute
    • Management and Budget Department
  • Legal Division:
    • Department for Diplomatic and Administrative Law
    • Treaties Department
    • International Law Department
    • Economic Law Department
    • General Law Department
    • Consular Affairs Bureau
  • Inspector General
  • Center for Political Research
  • Administrative Division