Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Israel)

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Hebrew: מִשְׂרַד הַחוּץ, translit. Misrad HaHutz; Arabic: وزارة الخارجية الإسرائيلية) is one of the most important ministries in the Israeli government. The ministry's role is to implement Israel's foreign policy, and promote economic, cultural, and scientific relations with other countries.[2]

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
משרד החוץ
وزارة الخارجية الإسرائيلية

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of Israel
HeadquartersForeign Ministry Building, Givat Ram, Jerusalem
31°46′57.35″N 35°12′6.19″E
Annual budget1.59 billion New Shekel[1]
Ministers responsible

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located in the government complex in Givat Ram, Jerusalem. Yisrael Katz currently holds the Foreign Ministry post.


In the early months of 1948, when the government of the future State of Israel was being formed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was housed in a building in the abandoned Templer village of Sarona, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Moshe Sharett, formerly head of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency, was placed in charge of foreign relations,[3] with Walter Eytan as Director General.

In November 2013, the longest labor dispute in the history of the Foreign Ministry’s workers union came to an end when diplomats signed an agreement that would increase their salaries and improve their working conditions. A new organization was founded, the Israeli Association for Diplomacy, with the mission of promoting the interests of Foreign Ministry staff. In response to issues raised, MK Ronen Hoffman arranged for the Knesset to launch a caucus entitled the “Caucus for the strengthening of the foreign service and Israeli diplomacy” in December 2014. Joined by politicians across the political spectrum, Hoffman said, “As long as the security establishment and the army are preferred over the foreign service, national security is damaged. A country whose foreign service doesn’t take a central position doesn’t act in the best national interest.” [4]

Diplomatic relations

Israel maintains diplomatic relations with 159 countries. It operates 77 embassies, 19 consulates-general and 5 special missions: a mission to the United Nations (New York), a mission to the United Nations institutions in Geneva, a mission to the United Nations institutions in Paris, a mission to the United Nations institutions in Vienna and an ambassador to the European Union (Brussels).[5]

In October 2000, Morocco, Tunisia and the Sultanate of Oman closed the Israeli offices in their countries and suspended relations with Israel. Niger, which renewed relations with Israel in November 1996, severed them in April 2002. Venezuela and Bolivia severed diplomatic ties with Israel in January 2009, in the wake of the IDF operation against Hamas in Gaza.[5]

Foreign ministry building

The new building of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kiryat Ben-Gurion, the government complex near the Knesset, was designed by Jerusalem architects Kolker, Kolker and Epstein in association with Diamond, Donald, Schmidt & Co. of Toronto. The building consists of three wings: One houses the offices of the Foreign Minister and director-general, another houses the diplomatic corps and the library, and the third is used for receptions.[6] The outside walls of the reception hall incorporate onyx plates that diffuse an amber light. In June 2001, the design won the prize for excellence from the Royal Institute of Architects of Canada.[7] The building is described as a "sophisticated essay in the play between solid and void, mass and volume, and light and shadow."[8]

List of ministers

The Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel (Hebrew: שר החוץ, Sar HaHutz) is the political head of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The position is one of the most important in the Israeli cabinet after Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

# Minister Party Governments Term start Term end Notes
1Moshe SharettMapaiP, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 715 May 194818 June 1956Serving Prime Minister 1954–1955
2Golda MeirMapai
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1218 June 195612 January 1966
3Abba EbanAlignment
Labor Party
13, 14, 15, 1613 January 19662 June 1974
4Yigal AllonAlignment173 June 197419 June 1977
5Moshe DayanIndependent1820 June 197723 October 1979
6Menachem BeginLikud1823 October 197910 March 1980Serving Prime Minister
7Yitzhak ShamirLikud18, 19, 20, 2110 March 198020 October 1986Serving Prime Minister 1983–1984
8Shimon PeresAlignment2220 October 198623 December 1988
9Moshe ArensLikud2323 December 198812 June 1990
10David LevyLikud2413 June 199013 July 1992
Shimon PeresLabor Party2514 July 199222 November 1995
11Ehud BarakLabor Party2622 November 199518 June 1996Not a Knesset member
David LevyGesher2718 June 19966 January 1998
12Benjamin NetanyahuLikud276 January 199813 October 1998Serving Prime Minister
13Ariel SharonLikud2713 October 19986 June 1999
David LevyOne Israel286 June 19994 August 2000
Ehud BarakOne Israel284 August 200010 August 2000Serving Prime Minister
14Shlomo Ben-AmiOne Israel2810 August 20007 March 2001
Shimon PeresLabor Party297 March 20012 November 2002
Ariel SharonLikud292 November 20026 November 2002Serving Prime Minister
Benjamin NetanyahuLikud296 November 200228 February 2003
15Silvan ShalomLikud3028 February 200316 January 2006
16Tzipi LivniKadima3118 January 20061 April 2009
17Avigdor LiebermanYisrael Beiteinu321 April 200918 December 2012
Benjamin NetanyahuLikud32, 3318 December 201211 November 2013Serving Prime Minister
Avigdor LiebermanYisrael Beiteinu3311 November 20136 May 2015
Benjamin NetanyahuLikud3414 May 201517 February 2019Serving Prime Minister
18Yisrael KatzLikud3417 February 2019

Deputy ministers

# Minister Party Governments Term start Term end
1Yehuda Ben-MeirNational Religious Party
Gesher ZRC
19, 2011 August 198113 September 1984
2Roni MiloLikud2124 September 198420 October 1986
3Benjamin NetanyahuLikud23, 2426 December 198811 November 1991
4Yossi BeilinLabor Party254 August 199217 July 1995
5Eli DayanLabor Party2624 July 199518 June 1996
6Nawaf MassalhaOne Israel285 August 19997 March 2001
7Michael MelchiorMeimad297 March 20012 November 2002
8Majalli WahabiKadima3129 October 200731 March 2009
9Danny AyalonYisrael Beiteinu3231 March 200918 March 2013
10Ze'ev ElkinLikud3318 March 201312 May 2014
11Tzachi HanegbiLikud332 June 20146 May 2015
12Tzipi HotovelyLikud3419 May 2015Incumbent

See also


  1. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-09. Retrieved 2014-01-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archived 2008-02-23 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Encyclopedia of Israel and Zionism, ed. Raphael Patai, Herzl Press/McGraw Hill, New York, 1971, pp. 339–340
  4. Ahren, Raphael (December 2, 2014). "Politicians, diplomats struggle to improve foreign service". The Times of Israel.
  5. "Israel's Diplomatic Missions Abroad". 2011-10-11. Archived from the original on 2011-08-21. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  6. "Three Way Building". 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  7. "Jerusalem architecture since 1948". 2001-12-01. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
  8. Your Name (this will appear with your post) (2003-05-01). "Jerusalem of Gold". Retrieved 2012-02-21.
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