Israeli Envoy to Cairo Secretly Brought Home for Security Reasons

Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, at his home in Mevaseret Tzion, near Yerushalayim, in June, several weeks before his posting to Cairo. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Israel’s Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin has been working secretly in Yerushalayim for several weeks, after being brought home due to an unspecified security threat, according to media reports on Tuesday.

A terse confirmation was issued by the Shin Bet, after the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph broke the story:

“Due to security concerns we have limited the return of the Foreign Ministry embassy team to Cairo,” the Israeli security service said in a statement, apparently referring to the return of the diplomatic mission in August 2016, four years after a mob stormed the embassy during the violent turmoil of the “Arab Spring.”

The ambassador’s visit to a museum in Cairo last November was the last report of his activities in Egypt.

However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon would not comment.

Details of Govrin’s departure from Cairo and the exact nature of the security concerns were as yet unclear. The Telegraph noted that it comes amid a number of terrorist attacks in the Egyptian capital in which several people were killed.

An alternative explanation was put forth by Egyptian political analyst Amin el-Mahdy, who asserted that Govrin was summoned home as a result of tensions between Israel and Egypt over the Gaza Strip and its border with Egypt.

However, el-Mahdy’s view was heavily colored by his politics:

“Why is the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, hiding from his people the details of his conflict with his Egyptian military junta and with his obedient servant the slaughterer El-Sissi?” Mahdy asked. “Why have he called back the entire Israeli diplomatic mission from Egypt three months ago, and never sent them back to Egypt?”

Israeli officials denied that Govrin’s exit was related to any bilateral tensions.

The Israeli government is reportedly hopeful he will be able to return to Egypt in the near future.

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