The Foreign Ministry announced on Monday the appointment of veteran ministry Middle East specialist Amir Weissbrod as Jerusalem's next envoy to Jordan.Weissbrod succeeds Einat Schlein, whom the Jordanians demanded be replaced following a shooting incident at the embassy compound last July, which badly strained relations between the two countries. Israel gradually began opening its embassy in Amman some 10 days ago. Weissbrod is one of the ministry’s senior diplomats, having been the head of the Middle East Bureau in the Foreign Ministry’s Center for Political Research since the end of 2013.Before that, he served as director of the Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian desks inside the center.He also worked in the embassy in Jordan from 2001 to 2004 as the first secretary in charge of media and political affairs.Between 1997 and 1999, he served in Israel’s Liaison Bureau in Morocco, responsible for political analysis and developing commercial ties.Weissbrod is held in high regard in the ministry, where he is considered an excellent manager and a talented analyst.Schlein has not yet been appointed to a new post, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said she will receive a “senior position.” The Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee that named Weissbrod the next envoy also made clear that in its estimation Schlein was an excellent ambassador, and renewed its commitment to give her a “suitable and fitting” post.
The embassy was shuttered last July after an Israeli security guard allegedly attacked by a man with a screwdriver, shot and killed the attacker, and also accidentally killed a bystander.The guard, Schlein and the embassy staff were returned home shortly afterward, and the Jordanians were infuriated that the guard received a “hero’s welcome” from Netanyahu, with Schlein in attendance.Ties with Jordan chilled considerably since the incident, with the Jordanians demanding a trial and compensation.Last month, just before a visit to Jordan and Israel by US Vice President Mike Pence, an agreement was reached putting an end to the affair.Netanyahu told reporters last month that Israel did not “apologize” for the incident, but rather expressed regret. In addition to naming Weissbrod on Monday, the Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee also named Ronen Gil- Or as the next ambassador to Myanmar. Gil-Or is the UN and Human Rights director at the ministry, and previously served as the deputy chief of mission at Israel’s delegation to the European Union in Brussels.
Scene of attack at Israel"s embassy in Jordan (credit: REUTERS)