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ISRAEL

Israel to post top envoy to Norway

Israel is sending one of its top diplomats to Norway, hoping that he will be able to repair the country's image after Druze poet Naim Araidi was removed from the post, accused of sexual harassment.

Israel to post top envoy to Norway
Raphael Schutz. Photo: Andorra foreign ministry
According to Norway's VG newspaper, Israel is likely to Raphael Schutz, a former ambassador to Spain, to the role. 
 
Schutz, who currently heads the Europe section of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, was described as "one of the best" by the newspaper's sources. 
 
"This is a sensational appointment. People at this level are usually ambassadors in one of the G8 countries, and not a small country like Norway" the source said. 
 
Naim Araidi resigned in February after several Norwegian female employees at the embassy accused him of sexually harassing them. 
 
A rare non-Jew in the Israeli diplomatic service, the respected Druze poet was intended to impress on Norwegians the diversity of the country and the fact that Arab and Druze Israelis enjoy a high level of rights. 

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ISRAEL

Norway’s biggest trade union angers Israel with boycott

Norway's biggest trade union voted Friday in favour of a boycott against Israel, a decision immediately condemned by Israeli diplomats who judged it "immoral".

Norway's biggest trade union angers Israel with boycott
File image of Israel's ambassador to Norway, Raphael Schutz. Photo: Tore Meek/Scanpix

The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) went against a recommendation from its leadership and voted 197 to 117 in favour of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott against Israel because of the current impasse over the Palestine issue.

LO, which also called for Norway to recognise a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders, was criticised by the government.

“Norwegian government strongly opposes Norw Labour Union's decision: #boycott of #Israel. We need more cooperation and dialogue, not boycott,” Foreign Minister Borge Brende wrote on Twitter.

Israel's embassy in Oslo said it “condemns in the strongest terms” the boycott.

“This immoral resolution reflects deeply rooted attitudes of bias, discrimination and double standard towards the Jewish state,” ambassador Raphael Schutz wrote in an email to AFP.

Noting that LO had also called for the dismantling of a barrier erected by Israel separating it from the Palestinian territories, Schutz said that “by adopting these positions LO placed itself shoulder to shoulder with the worst enemies of Israel”.

Norway hosted Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in the early 1990s that led to the now-defunct Oslo accords.

READ ALSO: Trondheim approves boycott of Israeli settlement goods