Israel ‘Hoping for the Return of Egyptian Ambassador’
After the new Israeli ambassador to Egypt presented his credentials to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at his palace in Cairo on Sunday, Israeli Foreign Ministry officials are looking forward to a reciprocal gesture, Israel’s NRG News reported.
“Israel welcomes the submission of credentials and views it as an additional expression of friendly public relations between the two countries,” a ministry spokesman said.
Diplomatic sources say that following Haim Koren’s move, Jerusalem “would be pleased if Egypt were to instruct their ambassador to return to Israel.”
Ambassador Atef Salem was recalled to Cairo “for consultations,” in Nov. 2012 in protest over Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, and never returned.
Koren, a veteran ministry Middle East expert, served in his previous position as Israel’s first ambassador to the new state of South Sudan.
Koren took office three months ago, and his new post – at least according to Israeli officials – marks what they believe as the Cairo government’s willingness to improve public ties with Israel.
However, Israel still does not have a location for a new embassy in Egypt since a violent assault by a mob of rioters more than three years ago which destroyed the previous facility.
Israel’s previous ambassador to Egypt, Yaakov Amitai, was recalled for fear over his and the embassy staff’s safety during the attacks.
For the interim, Koren is expected to work from his personal residence in Cairo.