New Government’s First Appointments
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New Government’s First Appointments

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The government announced several appointments today to key posts in the machinery of government. Most are long time associates of Premier Menachem Begin and members of his inner circle.

Dr. Eliayhu Ben-Eliassar was named Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office, replacing Amos Eran. Ben-Eliassar, one of the architects of Likud’s election campaign, was sent on a mission to Paris a week ago to brief French officials on the new Israeli regime. Yehiel Kadishai will head the Prime Minister’s personal office replacing Eli Mizrahi and Arye Naor was named Cabinet Secretary, replacing Gershon Avner.

Kadishai acted as Begin’s spokeman during much of his political career and Naor, an editor on Israel Radio, is the son of former Herut MK Esther Raziel Naor.

The appointment of Naftali Lavi as the new spokesman for the Foreign Ministry came as a surprise to ministry officials who had expected the job to go to a professional within the foreign service establishment. Until now, Lavi served as Defense Ministry spokesman and was close to Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan when the latter was Defense Minister. He served in the same capacity when Shimon Peres succeeded Dayan.


Israel’s new Defense Minister, Gen. Ezer Weizman, took over that office from Peres today in a ceremony of military pageantry in the Defense Ministry courtyard. Representative units of the Israeli army stood at attention with massed flags and regimental insignias as Weizman and Peres inspected their ranks. Later, the two men entered the Defense Minister’s office for a long private discussion and meetings with ministry officials and top army commanders.

While the relinquishment of office may have been a wrenching experience for some outgoing Cabinet members, many top level officials and lower echelon employees of the various ministries face a prolonged period of uncertainty over whether they will keep their jobs. In many cases, these jobs are non-political. Nevertheless, an official connected with the Ministry of Education who has such a job, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he has no idea where he stands since that ministry was handed over to the National Religious Party.

There is also nervousness among job-holders at the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency which, up to now, have been controlled by Labor. The political position of the WZO and the Agency will be determined by the 29th World Zionist Congress scheduled to convene in Jerusalem in February, 1978. (By Tuvia Mendelson and Yitzhak Shargil)

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