New Egyptian ambassador arrives in Israel

Khaled Azmi slated to present his credentials to President Rivlin on Thursday, along with the new Jordanian envoy

Adam Rasgon is a former Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Khaled Azmi, the new Egyptian ambassador to Israel, being interviewed in January 2017. (Screenshot: Youtube)
Khaled Azmi, the new Egyptian ambassador to Israel, being interviewed in January 2017. (Screenshot: Youtube)

Khaled Azmi, the new Egyptian ambassador to Israel, arrived in the country on Sunday, according to an Egyptian diplomat.

Former Egyptian ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat recently left Tel Aviv after serving as Cairo’s envoy to the Jewish state for some two and a half years.

In late August, the Egyptian government appointed Azmi, who previously served as the director of the counterterrorism unit in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, as its new top diplomat in Israel.

“He just arrived,” the Egyptian diplomat, who asked to remain unnamed, told The Times of Israel. “He will be presenting his credentials on Thursday.”

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry confirmed that Azmi will be presenting his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on t he sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 27, 2018. (Avi Ohayon / PMO)

Azmi will present his credentials along with the new Jordanian ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali, a spokesman for the president said.

Majali, who formerly worked as the Jordanian ambassador to Spain, arrived in Israel in early October.

Azmi is Egypt’s seventh ambassador to Israel.

Last Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry announced that Amira Oron was selected to serve as Israeli ambassador to Egypt.

Oron previously headed the Foreign Ministry’s Egypt division, and currently leads the ministry’s Middle East Economic Relations Department.

If the government approves her appointment, she will replace the current ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, and become the first female to hold the position.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979, officially ending decades of hostility between the two countries.

Israel has formal diplomatic ties with only one additional Arab country — Jordan.

In late September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. They had done so the previous year as well.

Yitzhak Levanon at an ambassadors' meeting in Jerusalem, December 2010 (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Yitzhak Levanon at an ambassadors’ meeting in Jerusalem, December 2010 (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Yitzhak Levanon, a former ambassador to Egypt, said that while Egypt and Israel have developed strong security relations, they have not done so in many other areas.

“We have an excellent relationship on the levels of the military and intelligence. We have great cooperation in fighting terrorism,” Levanon said in a phone call. “But we still have not seen yet a change in our bilateral relations; what I mean is there is not much exchange of things like culture, agriculture and sport.”

Levanon was the Israeli ambassador to Egypt when a mob of Egyptian protesters attacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo in September 2011.

Raphael Ahren contributed to this article.

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