Egypt Posts New Ambassador After 3-Year Recall

YERUSHALAYIM (AP/Hamodia) -

Egypt has sent a new ambassador to Israel three years after the last one was recalled to Cairo in protest over Operation Pillar of Defense, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

At the time, Egypt was led by Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Since Morsi was ousted by the military in 2013, and relations have improved.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Egypt’s new ambassador, Hazem Khairat, arrived on Friday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised Khairat’s arrival.

“I welcome the re-stationing of an Egyptian ambassador to Israel, which will enable us to further strengthen relations with this important and central Arab country,” he said during the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday.

In September, Israel reopened its embassy in Cairo, four years after it was ransacked by a mob rampaging over the deaths of five Egyptian policemen killed unintentionally by Israeli forces in pursuit of a group of Gaza terrorists.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment.

The Foreign Ministry said it was unclear when Khairat would present his credentials to President Reuven Rivlin, but that it would likely happen soon.

Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) also hailed Khairat’s arrival.

Khairat’s last two postings were as Egypt’s former permanent representative to the Arab League, and then as ambassador to Chile. His appointment was announced in June and was warmly received in Yerushalayim and elsewhere. “It’s something that has been, that is deeply welcomed in Israel and I think it’s very good for cementing the peace that exists between Egypt and Israel,” he said at the time.