Israel names ambassador to Turkey in first since rapprochement

Ahead of a reported meeting between Lapid and Erdogan, Israel has taken another step in cementing the re-established relations with Turkey.

 Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog shake hands during a joint new conference in Ankara. (photo credit: PRESIDENTiAL PRESS OFFICE/REUTERS)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog shake hands during a joint new conference in Ankara.
(photo credit: PRESIDENTiAL PRESS OFFICE/REUTERS)

The appointment of Israel's new ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, was approved by the Foreign Ministry's appointments committee on Monday.

Lillian, who served as the Charge d'Affaires to Ankara for the past two years, is now set to become the first Israeli envoy to Turkey since Israel's ongoing rapprochement with the country, which began last year.

This comes after Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced the full restoration of diplomatic relations with Turkey last month, paving the way for Lillian's appointment as Israel's permanent ambassador to Ankara.

In another move to cement the rekindling of ties, Lapid is set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the United Nations General Assembly, held in New York this week. The meeting will be the first between Erdogan and an Israeli prime minister since 2008, when he met former prime minister Ehud Olmert.

President Isaac Herzog, who kicked off the rapprochement attempts with Erdogan after he entered office last year, also met with his counterpart as part of a state visit to the Turkish capital in March.

 Hatikva plays at Erdogan's palace as Israel resets ties with Turkey March 9, 2022. (credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO) Hatikva plays at Erdogan's palace as Israel resets ties with Turkey March 9, 2022. (credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)

Israel also confirms new envoys in Europe and China

More Israeli envoys' appointments were approved by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

Ambassador Ishmael Khaldi, who became the first Bedouin-Israeli ambassador in 2020 when he was appointed as envoy to Eritrea, will now represent Israel in Turkmenistan.

Ravit Bar, a Foreign Ministry strategic department official, will serve as Israel's new consulate-general in Shanghai while Daniel Meron, Israel's former envoy to the Czech Republic, will become deputy director-general of the ministry's Europe branch.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.