JERUSALEM (Jul. 21)
Journalist Dan Margalit resigned from his job several days ago as spokesman for the Defense Ministry, the same day that he began it. He quit when Defense Minister Ezer Weizman informed him that he was not to be appointed a “political aide” as well. Margalit, the former Washington correspondent of Haaretz, said he was not interested in the information post without the higher level assignment.
A “political aide” has full access to government and diplomatic documents and serves as an advisor to the minister on the basis of the widest possible information. Asher Ben-Natan, a diplomat who served as Israel’s Ambassador to West Germany and France, was political aide to Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres when they were Defense Ministers. According to press reports, Dayan, now Israel’s Foreign Minister, persuaded Weizman not to elevate Margalit to the rank of political aide.
His reasons were not clear, but some observers speculated that Dayan regarded a political aide for Weizman as something of an inroad into his bailiwick at the Foreign Ministry. Weizman is married to the sister of Dayan’s former wife, Ruth, and while the two retired generals are no longer brothers-in-law, they remain close friends.
Margalit began his career as a cub reporter for the weekly Haolam Hazeh and gained journalistic prominence as Haaretz’s man in Washington. He received international Fame earlier this year when he broke the story of the bank account kept in Washington by Premier and Mrs. Yitzhak Rabin in violation of Israel’s currency laws, a disclosure that precipitated Rabin’s resignation as head of the Labor Party.