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Israel's UN envoy allegedly gave cushy jobs to cronies for political backing

"Anti-Israel activists do not belong in the UN. It is time to put an end to practice in which UN officials use their position to advance their anti-Israel agenda," Israel's UN envoy Danny Danon said
UN Photo/Mark Garten (United Natio/AFP/File)
Television report charges that Danon appointed loyalists to positions paying high salaries from public funds

Israel's United Nations envoy Danny Danon was accused of widespread corruption on Monday, with an Israeli television report alleging that the Likud politician arranged cushy jobs for his cronies in exchange for their political backing in the years prior to his appointment as UN ambassador.

Israel's Hadashot news (formerly Channel 2 news) said that Danon, a former lawmaker in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud faction, arranged lucrative positions for his friends and their relatives within a department at the World Zionist Organization which he chaired between 2006 and 2015 in exchange for their backing during Likud's primary elections.

Both Danon and the World Zionist Organization refuted the claims.

The report said that Danon used his chairmanship of the WZO's World Likud Department to appoint backers to positions in various national institutions that paid high paying salaries from public funds.

Courtesy Ynet/Moti Kimchi

A relative of Danon's, Yaakov Hagoel, was reportedly appointed to the head of a division of the WZO called 'Doing Zionism' in 2011, after which the once small branch's budget and staffing numbers swelled significantly.

Hadashot accused Danon and Hagoel of using the 'Doing Zionism' division to hire Likud workers who would be loyal to Danon and help further his political career.

The report cited interviews, computer files, and email correspondences and claimed that Danon personally selected employees appointed to the project, called the "Eshkolot Project", and paid his loyalists salaries of thousands of shekels per month from public finds, in some cases for very little work.

Courtesy Ynet

In exchange, the report charged, Danon's loyalists would vote for him whenever he ran for a political position and would be rewarded for adding new voters to Likud's registry. Those who voted against him were subject to salary or position cuts.

Hadashot said that the evidence it had gathered pointed to systematic corruption intended at furthering the career of Danon alone, and not to a wider party scandal.

Danon denied any wrongdoing on his part and dismissed the Hadashot report as an attempt to defame him. He added that he had not been given sufficient time to refute each individual claim.

The WZO said the report's allegations were false and baseless, and said that its work has received praise from across Israel's political spectrum.

(Staff with agencies)

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