Ongoing managerial failure: Bennett can only blame himself for the crisis in his office
The resignation of political adviser Shimrit Meir is a significant blow to the prime minister while he is in a political war for survival.
Bennett tried to persuade her not to leave and even offered to oust one of his advisers, but she refused.
The cause of the incident: Meir left because of a feeling of disgust at the civil wars
Saturday, 14 May 2022, 12:00 Updated: 12:14
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In the video: Benjamin Netanyahu congratulates Idit Silman on her retirement from the coalition (Photo: Nadav Elimelech / Knesset Channel and Likud Spokeswoman)
The resignation of the political adviser in Prime Minister's Office Shimrit Meir is a significant blow to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at a time when he is in a war of political survival.
Bennett can only blame himself for the upheaval suffered by his bureau.
Shimrit Meir (Photo: Walla !, official website)
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why is it important
Meir has been Bennett's closest adviser for the past year.
Her areas of practice and influence were much broader than her formal role.
This was also one of the main reasons for her departure.
Meir's departure is evidence of a continuing managerial failure in the Prime Minister's Office that for many months has suffered from functional problems due to internal tensions between Bennett's advisers.
The prime minister himself was aware of the situation and even tried to address it - but it was too little and too late.
Like Netanyahu in his first term as prime minister and Ehud Barak in his short tenure, Bennett's bureau also disbanded.
PM Naftali Bennett, Knesset (Photo: Reuven Castro)
between the lines
A source close to what is happening in the Prime Minister's Office said that Meir left because of a feeling of disgust from the civil wars but also because she understood that in the political situation that had arisen it would be difficult to function anyway, let alone advance political issues.
Behind the Scenes
Meir's resignation was the result of a long civil war between the prime minister's advisers that broke out shortly after Bennett took office.
At the center of that war was a confrontation between Meir and Chief of Staff Tal Ganzabi.
After years in which Genzabi was the man closest to Bennett, Meir replaced him in that position.
Over the past year, Meir has gained more and more power in the bureau and has begun to be involved in almost every issue, from political-security issues, to media strategy, press briefings, political consultations and even the Corona issue.
The internal conflicts touched more on ego and power struggles than on substantive debates on political or ideological issues.
Meir's relationship with Chief of Staff Ganzabi and with other advisers such as military secretary Avi Gil and cabinet secretary Shalom Shlomo was murky.
Many meetings degenerated into verbal confrontations and the parties found it difficult to work together.
Her relationship with Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked was also not good.
Shaked and her people felt that Meir was trying to distance her from Bennett and even push Bennett to more "central" policy positions that did not match the "right" positions.
Bennett, for his part, had difficulty making order in the bureau.
After the publication of an investigation into the internal conflicts in his office, Bennett completely sided with Meir and even called her in his response to the investigation "my backbone."
The inquiry might have been an opportunity for internal changes in her prime minister's office to calm the winds, but Bennett did not make any personnel changes.
The result was that the atmosphere in the bureau became even more negative and toxic.
In recent days, Meir has broadcast signs that she is nearing the end of her career in the Prime Minister's Office, especially against the background of a wave of leaks against her to the media, which she attributed to the opponent's camp in the office.
She said she felt like Benny Gantz that an alternate prime minister said in an interview with journalist Dana Weiss in July 2020 that he did not want to go to school in the morning.
Bennett has tried in recent days to persuade Meir not to leave the bureau and even offered to fire one of his advisers, but Meir made it clear to him that there was no point in doing so and that a decision had already been made for her.
Bennett wanted her to remain in office until after Biden's visit in late June, but she insisted on leaving on June 1.
The relationship between Meir and Shaked was not good (Photo: Reuven Castro)
the other side
Meir has managed to advance quite a few policy issues during her tenure in office such as organizing Bennett's first visits to Washington, Amman and Cairo.
She also led the talks with the US administration on the Palestinian issue and managed to delay the US intention to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem.
Despite this, even outside the Prime Minister's Office, Meir has amassed many enemies.
Israeli and foreign sources testify that although Meir is talented, many meetings with her were tense and from the moment any disagreement arose, the road to quarrel and confrontation was short.
Meir's relations with Foreign Minister Lapid and the director general of his office, Alon Ushpiz, were extremely bad. Her relations with the US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Mobils, were not particularly good either, and there were quite a few heated debates between the two.
PM Naftali Bennett (Photo: Government Press Office)
At this stage, it does not appear that Bennett will appoint a replacement for Meir.
Nor is it clear whether in the current political instability there are too many people who are qualified for the job and will agree to come when every day they may find themselves unemployed.
National Security Adviser Eyal Hulta is expected to address the issues that were his responsibility, especially with regard to contacts with international bodies on the Palestinian issue.
Hulta will become the most senior authority in the Prime Minister's Office on political-security issues.