Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering appointing Communications Minister Ayoub Kara to be Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, Channel 13 news reported Tuesday.
Kara, 64, a lawyer and Druze politician from the Galilee town of Daliat el-Carmel, has been a staunch supporter of the premier, but failed to win a high enough spot on the party’s slate before the April 9 elections to enter the current Knesset.
Last fall, the Foreign Ministry approved Amira Oron, a professional diplomat tipped to be the first woman appointed to the ambassadorship to Cairo. She is due to take up the post in the summer.
If Netanyahu wants replace Oron with Kara he will have to convince newly appointed Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz to cancel the previous appointment.
The prime minister may be looking to reward Kara, a loyalist, but any move to send him to Cairo would likely be met with fierce resistance from foreign ministry staff, the report said.
Oron previously served in the Egyptian capital and headed the Foreign Ministry’s Egypt division, while Kara has had several undiplomatic outbursts, most recently calling fellow Likud members “Nazis” and a “mafia” earlier this year after he failed to gain enough votes during the internal party primary.
The Likud party refused to comment on the report and Kara’s office responded, saying “We have no idea what this is about.”
First elected to the Knesset in 1999, Kara is a longtime Netanyahu supporter and the first member of the Druze community to become a cabinet minister.
The new envoy will replace David Govrin in Cairo.
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.
On September 9, 2011, several thousand protesters forcibly entered the Israeli embassy in Giza, Cairo, after breaking down a perimeter wall to the compound.
The protests began in response to the inadvertent killing of five Egyptian security guards by Israeli soldiers during an attempt to catch terrorists who had ambushed and killed eight Israelis along the Israel-Egypt border.
Following the intervention of the White House, Egypt sent commando forces into the embassy complex to rescue the Israeli staff. The attack prompted nearly the entire embassy staff to evacuate in one of the worst crises to hit the two countries’ relations.
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 the Palestinians.
In recent years, the two countries have enjoyed closer intelligence and security ties over their shared enmity toward Islamist terror groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula and other common regional concerns.
Over the years, Egypt has played a key role in attempts to bring an end to hostilities between Israel and the Gaza ruling Hamas terror group.