An Egyptian soldier stands near the Egyptian national flag and the Israeli flag at the Taba crossing between Egypt and Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel on Sunday welcomed Egypt's announcement that it had named Hazem Khairat as Egypt’s next ambassador.
Khairat, who previously served as Egypt’s envoy to the Arab League and as ambassador to Chile, will replace Atef Salem, who served in Israel only briefly in 2012. Khairat is to be the first full-time Egyptian ambassador residing in Tel Aviv since then.
The move comes at a time of strong security cooperation between Israel and Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Ousted president Muhammad Morsi appointed Salem, who presented his credentials to then-president Shimon Peres in October 2012. A month later, soon after Israel launched operation Pillar of Defense to combat rocket firing from Gaza, Morsi recalled Salem, who never returned on a permanent basis.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the appointment at the opening of his meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, saying that the appointment “is an important piece of news.”
Netanyahu said this is something Israel appreciates and is “deeply welcomed,” and that he believes it is “very good for cementing the peace that exists between Egypt and Israel.”
Israel appointed Haim Koren as its ambassador to Egypt in 2014. On Friday, Koren made history in being the first ever Israeli ambassador to deliver a Ramadan greeting to the Egyptian people.
In the video message uploaded by the Foreign Ministry, Koren said in Arabic, “On my behalf and on behalf of the people of Israel ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, we wish the Egyptian people Ramadan Kareem,” referring to the traditional Ramadan blessing.