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Former envoy to Egypt to serve as interim ambassador to Morocco — official

David Govrin will depart for Rabat shortly to serve in temporary role until a diplomat is formally appointed

Israeli Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin at his home in Mevasseret Zion, near Jerusalem, on June 5, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israeli Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin at his home in Mevasseret Zion, near Jerusalem, on June 5, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israel’s former ambassador to Egypt David Govrin will head the country’s mission to Morocco as a temporary appointment, a Foreign Ministry official said Monday.

Govrin will serve in the interim role until an ambassador is formally appointed. He will depart for Rabat shortly, the official said.

He speaks fluent Arabic, and served in Cairo from 2016 to August 2020.

Late last month, a team of Moroccan diplomats arrived in Israel to begin laying the groundwork for the reopening of a liaison office in Tel Aviv in January. Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said that the country planned to reopen its diplomatic office in Israel within two to three weeks, after closing it some 20 years ago in a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians upon the outbreak of the Second Intifada.

Israeli and Moroccan officials sign a bilateral agreement at the royal palace in Rabat, Morocco, December 22, 2020. (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

Though the liaison office — a step down from a full embassy — was shuttered in 2000, the Moroccan government maintained ownership of the property, allowing for its rapid reopening following the announcement on December 10 that the two countries were renewing ties.

Israel’s liaison office in Rabat was similarly closed in 2000 in response to Morocco’s decision but was also never sold. Though Israel plans to quickly reopen its office as well, no official date has been given.

With its announcement of normalization earlier this month, Morocco became the third Arab state this year to normalize ties with Israel under US-brokered deals, joining the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Sudan has also announced plans to normalize ties with Israel, though no official agreements have been signed.

Though initially Morocco and Israel will maintain liaison offices in one another’s countries, they plan to establish full embassies in the future.

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