Weekend visits home for Israeli diplomats stationed in close-by locations, like Cairo, are out; diplomats are going to have to stay at their stations on Friday and Shabbos and come home less often, even though no business is being conducted on those days. Yuval Rotem, director general of the Foreign Ministry, in recent days flew to Cairo to inform personnel of the new rule, Yediot Acharonot reported.
The reason, of course, is money, according to analysts; the trips home every weekend, which were on a commercial plane, are costing the Ministry too much, considering that there are numerous personnel who pack out on Thursday nights and head back to the Israel Embassy in Cairo on Sunday. Egypt agreed to allow Rotem to visit, if he kept a low profile, the report said.
Besides the monetary savings, Rotem is anxious for personnel to remain in Cairo as a form of “normalization,” with Israeli diplomats free to attend events with local and foreign diplomats who remain in Cairo for months at a time. In addition, staff will be able to get some work done Thursday afternoons and Fridays, making them more productive, the report said.
With that, the analysts told Yediot that the savings are unlikely to be as great as the Ministry believes, because security personnel will remain “on the clock” – getting 150 percent or 200 percent of their regular wages for the weekend overtime.
In a statement, the Ministry told Yediot that its motives were not economic, and that they would actually be spending more because of the security issues.