Former ambassadors call on gov't not to appoint Kara as envoy to Egypt

The letter came amid reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was considering dispatching long-time political ally and current Communications Minister Ayoub Kara to the post in Cairo.

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June 6, 2019 02:39
2 minute read.
Communications Minister Ayoub Kara

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The job of Israel’s ambassador to Egypt is too important to be put into the hands of a “political appointment” and not given to a professional and respected diplomat, a group of 18 retired ambassadors said in a sharply worded letter on Wednesday.

The letter came amid reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was considering dispatching long-time political ally and current Communications Minister Ayoub Kara to the post in Cairo, instead of Amira Oron, who the Foreign Ministry’s appointment committee tabbed for the post.

The Prime Minister’s Office would not comment on the reports that Kara was being considered for the position.

The letter called on the government to approve Oron’s appointment, saying that “a worthy professional appointment to the sensitive position in Egypt is much more important than arranging a job for a political appointment.”

Kara finished 39th in the Likud primaries in February, and as such did not make it into the last Knesset that dissolved itself last week.

The letter said that as people who have worked in diplomacy and represented Israel abroad for dozens of years, no one knows better than they do that diplomacy is something “unique” that requires “commitment, professionalism and a great deal of knowledge obtained after long years of training and service.”

“Representing Israel is always a unique, delicate and complex task, especially in a country as important as Egypt, whose relationship with Israel is a cornerstone for Israel in the Middle East,” the letter stated.

“Just as it is unthinkable to appoint as a department head in a hospital someone who never trained or practiced as a doctor, or appoint as an army commander someone who was not suitably trained, so too is it necessary to place at the head of Israel’s embassy in Cairo the most professional person possible, and not give it out as a consolation prize,” the retired ambassadors wrote.

Kara has, over the years, been at the center of a number of diplomatic snafus, including being detained at the Dubai International Airport because he reportedly did not heed the instructions of airport officials; posing for a picture on a trip to Ecuador with the prime minister of the breakaway Sahrawi Republic in Western Sahara; saying during a trip to Italy that an earthquake that hit the country was divine retribution for its votes against Israel in the UN; and meeting independently in Bulgaria with Syrian opposition forces.

Among those who signed the letter were Daniel Shek, a former ambassador to France; Daniel Carmon, who served as Israel’s ambassador to India; Liora Herzl, former ambassador to Norway; Baruch Binah, former ambassador to Denmark and deputy head of mission in the US; and Alon Liel, a former ambassador to South Africa and director-general of the Foreign Ministry.

Liel in the past has lobbied Brazil against accepting Dani Dayan as Israel’s ambassador there because he was a former settlements leader, and has also worked toward getting parliaments in Europe to recognize a Palestinian state.


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