Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
would like to appoint a chief of staff to improve his
dysfunctional bureau's performance, Haaretz has learned.
However, unless certain members of the bureau staff
leave, the appointment may increase the tensions and power
struggles ailing the bureau even further, officials say.
Globes newspaper reported Monday that Netanyahu's favorite for
the post is Israel's ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem.
Rotem was mentioned several months ago as a potential
candidate, but Monday's report prompted the prime minister's
bureau to issue a statement saying Netanyahu wants to
reshuffle things soon.
"The prime minister is
examining various candidates both from the Prime Minister's
Office and outside it to replace bureau director Ari Harow,
who has been forced to leave for personal reasons," the
Harow, who left several weeks ago due
to health problems, and bureau chief Natan Eshel, had been in
charge of the prime minister's schedule and telephone calls
and the bureau's activity at large.
In the past year
Eshel, formerly deputy CEO at the Yisrael Hayom newspaper, was
frequently criticized for not being familiar with defense,
state and economic affairs, and for not being part of most of
the prime minister's activities.
criticism was over Eshel's appointment, which was reportedly
due to his close ties with Sara Netanyahu. A major part of his
job was said to be maintaining contact with her.
prime minister's aides denied that Eshel was on his way out.
"Natan Eshel will remain bureau chief, and there is no
intention of replacing him," an aide said. "In addition, the
prime minister is considering appointing a chief of staff for
Netanyahu's bureau has been dysfunctional
for a year, racked by internal dissent and the ill-defined
responsibilities of various officials. However, what has
mainly been lacking is an authoritative bureau chief, one
capable of coordinating between the prime minister's advisers
and other ministries.
However, it is not clear how
appointing a chief of staff alongside the bureau chief will
improve things, officials say.
On the contrary, the
appointment could lead to more friction. It is also hard to
believe the remaining advisers would accept a chief of staff's
authority and give up their powers and direct access to the