Just six months after becoming Foreign Ministry director-general, Yossi Gal submitted his candidacy last week to become Israel's ambassador to France.
Both Gal and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who appointed him as director-general, said Gal was neither being pushed out of the ministry nor running from the job because of any disagreements over policy.
"Every director-general should have the type of ties I have with Lieberman," Gal told confidants at the end of the week. And a spokesman for Lieberman said that Gal's decision to present his candidacy was done in complete coordination with Lieberman.
The ministry's appointments committee is scheduled to meet later in the week, but Gal's appointment - he is a veteran diplomat who has already served as ambassador to Holland - is considered a foregone conclusion.
The announcement came as a surprise to most ministry officials, who speculated among themselves as to the reason for what was widely viewed as Gal's premature departure from the powerful director-general's job.
A source close to Gal said he was interested in finishing out his diplomatic career in an important capital that appeals to him.
Gal, if indeed appointed, will replace Daniel Shek, expected to return to Israel from Paris next summer. Gal would remain in his position until then, ministry officials speculated.