The government on Sunday approved the appointment of Amira Oron as ambassador to Egypt, over a year and a half after she was first tapped for the position. She will be the first Israeli woman to serve in the sensitive post.
In addition, ministers voted to okay the nomination of Bat Eden Kate as ambassador to Turkmenistan, a Muslim-majority nation in Central Asia that borders Iran.
Oron, a veteran diplomat, was selected for the ambassadorship by the Foreign Ministry in October 2018, but a vote on her appointment was delayed as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instead considered appointing Likud lawmaker Ayoud Kara to the post.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who pushed for the cabinet to vote on the appointments, welcomed his colleagues’ decision. “These are experienced, professional and valued diplomats, and I am convinced that they will lead bilateral relations between the State of Israel and countries where they will serve to significant achievements,” he said.
Kara, a staunch supporter of Netanyahu with a history of diplomatic gaffes, withdrew his candidacy for the position last year amid opposition in the diplomatic corps to his appointment.
Diplomatic staff had made public appeals to the government to install Oron, who had previously served in Cairo, Ankara and Brussels and headed the Foreign Ministry’s Egypt division.
The last Israeli ambassador to Egypt was David Govrin. After he left the post in last summer, the embassy was headed by charge d’affaires Eyal Sela.
In 2017, Govrin and his staff returned to Israel for eight months due to unspecified security threats. Upon their return to Egypt, they resumed work from the envoy’s suburban Cairo home.
Oron, who is fluent in Arabic, will return to working out of the Cairo embassy.
Egypt was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, in 1979, but relations have always been frosty due to popular Egyptian support for Palestinians.
In recent years the two countries have enjoyed closer intelligence and security ties over their shared enmity toward Islamist terror groups and other common regional concerns.
Egypt has also played a key role in attempts to bring an end to hostilities between Israel and Hamas, as well as Palestinian reconciliation talks.