The Foreign Ministry this week named seasoned diplomat and spokesman Yigal Palmor as its spokesman, replacing Arye Mekel, who has been promoted to deputy director-general of the ministry's Culture and Scientific Affairs division. In December, Mekel took over on a temporary basis from Mark Regev, after Regev went over to the Prime Minister's Office to serve as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's foreign press spokesman. Palmor, who speaks fluent English, French and Spanish, previously served stints as deputy spokesman in the Foreign Ministry, and as the spokesman for Israel's embassies in Spain and France. He currently heads the ministry's Maghreb, Syria and Lebanon desk. Palmor is expected to assume his new position this summer. Mekel, who over the years has served in numerous high-profile posts both in and out of the Foreign Ministry - including foreign policy adviser to former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, director-general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, consul-general in Atlanta and then in New York, and deputy head of Israel's delegation at the United Nations - beat out some 38 other candidates for the deputy director-generalship of the Culture and Scientific Affairs division. He replaces Arthur Avnon, who has been named Israel's new envoy to Denmark. In addition, the Foreign Ministry has named Ilan Bar as deputy director-general of the ministry's Strategic Affairs division, and Avitar Manor, currently Israel's ambassador to Sweden, as deputy director-general for the UN and International Organizations division. Bar currently serves as a top adviser to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.