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Back in Bern Israeli ambassador returns after undiplomatic tweets

Israeli Ambassador Yigal Caspi (centre) arrives for meeting at Swiss Federal Parliament in January 2014

(swissinfo.ch)

Israel’s ambassador to Switzerland, Yigal Caspi, has returned to his job in Bern after a two-month suspension. The diplomat got into hot water for retweeting messages critical of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“He’s back again since today,” confirmed Esther Hörnlimann, spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in the Swiss capital, on Tuesday, responding to the Zurich-based newspaper NZZ. 

She confirmed that Yigal Caspi had been called home on February 4, 2015, for “disciplinary reasons” and suspended. This suspension has now been lifted, she told the paper. 

The 65-year-old diplomat had reportedly gotten into trouble, along with two other members of the Israeli diplomatic corps, for retweeting messages critical of Netanyahu and other government ministers.

Among the alleged infractions was Caspi’s retweeting of criticism referring to Netanyahu’s acceptance of a controversial invitation to address the US Congress over Iran’s nuclear policy. 

“Every time one thinks Netanyahu has taken the relationship with the White House to the lowest point ever, he manages to take it even lower,” said a tweet by Haaretz newspaper writer Barak Ravid, reposted on Caspi’s private Twitter account. This account was later closed.

Netanyahu gave a speech to the US Congress attacking a possible nuclear deal with Iran sought by US President Barack Obama. The speech, delivered in spite of White House objections, was organised by Republican Party leaders in Congress. 

Hörnlimann confirmed that Caspi had been summoned home to a hearing in Jerusalem with two other diplomats in order to check the comments attributed to them on Twitter. But she told the NZZ that the critical messages had been retweets and not news items that the ambassador had produced. 

Caspi was not available for comment on Tuesday. His spokeswoman declared that he remained accredited with the Swiss government and “once again was the regular ambassador”.

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