(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
LONDON – Britain announced on Tuesday that its new ambassador to Israel will be David Quarrey, whose current post as director of the Foreign Office’s Near East and North Africa Department has given him major insight into the region’s issues.
Quarrey, who joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1994, will replace the popular and highly regarded Matthew Gould, who, being a Jewish diplomat for Britain, is something of a rarity and because of his superb diplomatic skills, was fast-tracked to the Tel Aviv Embassy.
Gould’s ability to enhance ties between Britain and Israel included the creation of a hi-tech hub involving companies and academic establishments in both countries specializing in biomedical, digital and other forms of technological cooperation. The endeavor has been viewed as being so successful that it reportedly will be rolled out to several other countries in the near future.
The current envoy, whose daughters were born in Israel and has worked hard to improve his Hebrew, has served four years in the post.
Considered a superb operator steering his way through sometimes difficult diplomatic waters, he requested – and was granted – a year’s extension.
He will return to the UK in July.
“It will be very hard to go, very hard to leave the place where we started our family, the only place my girls have ever called home,” he said on Monday.
Quarrey is an experienced and highly respected diplomat.
He served two years as private secretary to then-prime minister Tony Blair, and a spell of three years at the UK’s mission to the United Nations in New York. His other overseas postings include Harare and New Delhi.
Having never been posted to an Arab country, according to one source, he is considered very fair and balanced on Middle East matters and willingly consulted with Jewish communal leaders during tense periods, such as the recent bid by Palestinians for statehood.
Quarrey said he was delighted with his appointment.
“It is a great privilege to have this opportunity to deepen our already thriving economic, science and technology ties with Israel, cooperate against shared security threats and work for progress towards peace,” he said.