Yitzhak Levanon 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP [file])
It took about 18 months, but the Foreign Ministry appointments committee on Sunday finally named an ambassador to Egypt: Yitzhak Levanon.
Levanon, temporarily serving as the ministry's spokesman to the Arab press, will replace Shalom Cohen, who has served in the post since 2005, and who has expressed an interest in returning since 2008.
Both Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his predecessor, Tzipi Livni, were unable to name a successor to Shalom, as their efforts to appoint political appointees to the job failed to gain traction.
Levanon, who is fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, French and English, served previously as ambassador to the UN institutions in Geneva, consul-general in Boston, and the head of the Foreign Ministry's Maghreb department.
While Egypt is one of Israel's most important strategic relationships, the ambassadorial post there is a lonely one, with the envoy often snubbed by Egyptian politicians and elites. Furthermore, relations with Egypt are for the most part directed by the Prime Minister's Office or the Defense Ministry, not the Foreign Ministry.
The appointments committee also named Boaz Moda'i as the next envoy to Dublin; Yitzhak Yanuka as ambassador to Angola; Hanan Godar as envoy to Nepal: Meir Shlomi as consul-general in Houston: Ofer Aviran as consul-general in Atlanta: and Simona Halperin as the head of Israel's interest section in Taipei.
All the appointments must now go to the cabinet for final approval, which is generally just a formality.