4 years to the day since attack, Israel reopens Cairo embassy

Foreign Ministry chief attends rededication ceremony; deputy foreign minister hails move, urges warmer ties

Foreign Ministry Director Dore Gold attends a ceremony marking the reopening of Israel's embassy in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 (Foreign Ministry)
Foreign Ministry Director Dore Gold attends a ceremony marking the reopening of Israel's embassy in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 (Foreign Ministry)

Exactly four years after it was overrun by Egyptian protesters, Israel’s embassy in Cairo has reopened, the Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday.

The ministry’s director-general, Dore Gold, was in the Egyptian capital Wednesday to mark what the ministry called the “festive occasion.”

Also on hand were Israel’s ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren and other Israeli diplomats, Egyptian officials, and the American ambassador. Koren has been stationed in Egypt since May 2014, working at an unofficial location.

Speaking at the event, Gold said that under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the two countries had succeeded in fending off threats and are now working toward “prosperity” and “stability” in the Middle East.

During the ceremony, Gold affixed a mezuzah on the embassy doorpost. The event concluded with a rendition of Hatikvah and Egypt’s national anthem.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely welcomed the embassy’s rededication.

“We share common interests with Egypt, and in particular, regional changes create opportunities to improve ties with countries in the region, starting with Egypt,” Hotovely said in a statement.

Israel closed its Cairo embassy in September 2011, after it was overrun by thousands of protesters.

In June, Gold traveled to Cairo for the first high-level talks between officials in four years.

Gold and Egyptian diplomats hashed over topics such as Iran’s nuclear program, growing Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, Cairo’s foreign policy toward Hamas and a possible re-launch of peace talks with the Palestinians. Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Osama al-Majdoub at the time made it abundantly clear to Gold that Cairo views the Palestinian deadlock as “the heart of the conflict in the region,” and stressed the importance of restarting high-level negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said, according to Reuters.

Official relations between Jerusalem and Cairo have been relatively warm since Sissi rose to power. In June, Netanyahu “deeply welcomed” Egypt’s appointment of its new ambassador to Israel, Hazem Khairat.

Elie Leshem and Avi Lewis contributed to this report.

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