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06TELAVIV1864 2006-05-11 17:17:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 001864 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/10/2016

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Gene A. Cretz. Reason 1.4 (B/D)

1. (C) Summary: In a bid to make his office more
"presidential," Prime Minister Olmert has decided to name Dr.
Yoram Turbowicz as his chief of staff, a new position that
will reportedly make the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO)
more effective in terms of policy coordination. The incoming
chairman of the National Security Council (NSC), Ilan
Mizrahi, will now be co-located in the PMO and will report to
the Prime Minister through Chief of Staff Turbowicz (septel).
Olmert's Alternate Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Tzipi
Livni, has also appointed a new director-general, Aharon
Abromowitz, who is reportedly an influential member of the
convergence policy planning team. End Summary.


2. (C) Olmert's Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister, Tzipi Livni, has energized her ministry with new
operating procedures (e.g., more foreign policy brainstorming
sessions with MFA experts) and less interference with
diplomatic assignments (in the ministry and abroad). She
intends to remain influential on national security
priorities, including convergence policy, and has appointed a
new director-general she trusts from her tenure as minister
of justice. Her personal advisor, Dita Kohl, described Livni
as "professional rather than political," a real contrast from
her predecessor, Silvan Shalom. Livni has also reportedly
tapped Elon Joanes, a former journalist with human rights
experience who is currently completing an advanced degree at
Princeton, as her chief of staff. He will have particular
responsibility for "political work" and her schedule. MFA
contacts indicate that the current, career chief of staff,
Jacob Dayan, will remain on her team as well.

3. (C) Career MFA contacts report that Livni "loves
lawyers," and Aharon Abramowitz will add to her experience
his own as an architect of PM Sharon's 2004 Disengagement
Plan who helped elaborate compensation packages for Gaza
settlers. Abramowitz, as well as Deputy Attorney General
Shavit Matias, are regarded by MFA contacts as lawyers whose
institutional expertise will be tapped by Olmert's national
security team to handle the "internal" issues associated with
implementing convergence policy in the new government.
Israeli journalist Aluf Benn told poloff that Abramowitz is
close to the PM's Special Adviser, Dov Weissglas. Econoff
contacts report that Livni trusts him as he was the force who
explained settlement and housing policy when she became
minister of justice. He is a seasoned technocrat who seeks
consensus in decision-making and has been responsive to the
USG on a number of far flung issues (settlements, IPR,
financial laws).


3. (SBU) New Advisors in the Office of the Prime Minister
(PMO) include the following:

-- Chief of Staff Yoram Turbowicz, 48, has worked in the
private sector, including at the Israeli Discount Bank from
1998-2001, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School; he
specialized in commercial law, antitrust law, securities,
criminal law and arbitration. In government, he served in
several senior executive positions such as the Israeli trade
regulations commissioner and legal adviser of the Ministry of
Industry and Trade (where Olmert served as minister). He is
a former lecturer at Tel Aviv University and the
Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, and was once a
candidate for attorney general. Turbowicz played the lead
role in negotiating the Olmert government guidelines and the
coalition agreements with Labor and other parties in the

-- Director General Ra'anan Dinur is a close associate of
Olmert and political ally from Olmert's time in the mayor's
office. Dinur also served as director-general of the
Ministry of Industry and Trade. Dinur will manage and
supervise all of the activities of the government office in
the economic, social and civil fields, including the economic
branch of the National Security Council. His predecessor's
special tasks included (and will likely continue)
coordination of the economic aspects of the Disengagement

-- Deputy Chief of Staff Oved Yehezkel will coordinate the
work of other advisors in the Office of the Prime Minister.
He has been the go-to man for coalition political discussions
in the period following the formation of the government on
May 4. Oved, an attorney, served as a counselor to Olmert
during his tenure as mayor of Jerusalem during the 1990's.

-- Head of Bureau and Olmert's "eternal bureau chief" Shula
Zaken, 49, -- is an office manager who has worked with Olmert
since 1977 when she served as his secretary at the launch of
the Ehud Olmert and Co. law firm. Olmert associates note
that Shula made the transition from secretary to personal
aide and advisor to Olmert during his years as mayor of
Jerusalem. When Olmert was accused of using Likud Party
money to fund the transatlantic travel of his wife and
daughter in 1988, he told investigators that his assistant,
Ms. Zaken, was responsible for the technical details of
paying for trips, but they have remained loyal partners. Her
acquaintances told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot that
"Olmert comes first with her and if he were to go and become
a street cleaner, Shula would follow him."

4. (C) Several of former PM Sharon's key aides will remain
in their current positions, including: Cabinet Secretary,
Yisrael Maimon, who has served in this position since 2003;
Special Adviser Dov Weissglas (who reportedly declined an
offer to be National Security Advisor); Foreign Policy
Adviser Shalom Tourgeman; and General Military Secretary Gadi
Shamni, who joined the PMO in 2005. MFA contacts report that
Shamni remains very influential within the PMO. Shamni
graduated from the U.S. Army's Special Warfare Qualification
Course in Fort Bragg, NC, and the Army War College in
Carlisle Barracks, PA. DAO reports that as a result of an
injury sustained in battle, Shamni speaks quietly and in a
very low voice. There are no indications thus far that the
current roles played by Weissglas and Tourgeman on
Israeli-Palestinian affairs will change appreciably under the
leadership of PM Olmert.

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