The Shmooze

Is Natan Eshel Really Gone?

By Nathan Jeffay

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In most of the world, leaving a job means exactly that — moving on. In this part of the Middle East, however, it doesn’t seem to mean much. Take, for example, two of the most important Palestinian figures. Does anyone recall that the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat actually resigned last year following the leak of the so-called Palestine Papers? And does anyone remember that, also last year, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayad was meant to be making an exit after the Fatah-Hamas unity deal, but he never left and has just had his position renewed after a cabinet reshuffle.

And now we hear of what Natan Eshel is up to. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff, he resigned in February amid scandal — he had admitted sexual harassment of a female staffer and signed a plea bargain admitting misconduct that it was none other than Eshel who brokered the recent unity deal between the Likud and Kadima parties which saved the country from elections. According to Yediot he still has the use of a high-end government car and a cell phone, paid for by the State. Oh, and he is also receiving NIS 40,000 (over $10,000) a month.

Officials told Yediot that this is just a normal departure with severance, but is isn’t this combination of putting in time for the government, receiving money monthly and perks what most of the world calls carrying on employment?


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