JERUSALEM (JTA) – A new Egyptian ambassador has taken up his post in Israel, after three years in which there was no diplomat leading the embassy.
“This past weekend a new Egyptian ambassador arrived to Israel, Hazem Khairat. I welcome his arrival; I welcome the re-stationing of an Egyptian ambassador in Israel, which will enable us to further strengthen relations with this important and key Arab country,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting.
It is not known when Khairat, whose appointment was announced in June, will present his credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Egypt’s last ambassador to Israel, Atef Salem, arrived in Israel and presented his credentials to then-president Shimon Peres in October 2012. He was recalled to Cairo a month later, days after Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, following continuous rocket fire on civilians in southern Israel from Gaza.
Israel named Haim Koren as its new ambassador to Egypt in September 2014. The Israeli Embassy was closed in September 2011 after rioting anti-Israel protesters broke down the 8-foot-high security wall surrounding the embassy compound and entered the building. Embassy employees had to be evacuated for their safety. Israel reopened the embassy this September.