Israel sends new ambassador to Egypt

A new Israeli ambassador has arrived in Egypt.

Yaakov Amitai, an Arabic-speaking diplomat with extensive experience in the Middle East and East Africa, took up his position Dec. 12 in Cairo.

Amitai replaces Yitzhak Levanon, whose tenure was curtailed by anti-Israel riots at Israel’s Cairo embassy in September. More than 80 Israeli staffers were airlifted out of Cairo when an angry mob stormed the building.

After the attacks, Foreign Ministry officials and the Shin Bet security services decided that the building housing the embassy was unfit from a security point of view. Since then, efforts have been made to find an alternative location.

Diplomatic sources said Amitai would likely work out of his official residence in the interim, assisted by a skeletal staff. — jta