No one wants to be Israel’s ambassador to Egypt

Haaretz reports that Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, Shalom Cohen, has had his term extended for three months because no one else wants to take his job: [Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni had hoped to replace Cohen with another prominent senior diplomat, or barring that, a well-known public figure or politician. She had also hoped the selection ...

Haaretz reports that Israel's ambassador to Egypt, Shalom Cohen, has had his term extended for three months because no one else wants to take his job:

[Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni had hoped to replace Cohen with another prominent senior diplomat, or barring that, a well-known public figure or politician. She had also hoped the selection process would send a message to Egypt that its relationship with Israel was a priority for Jerusalem.

However, she soon discovered that eligible candidates were hardly jumping at the vacancy. She and Abramovitz offered the position to four of the ministry's deputy directors general, and all four turned it down.

Haaretz reports that Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, Shalom Cohen, has had his term extended for three months because no one else wants to take his job:

[Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni had hoped to replace Cohen with another prominent senior diplomat, or barring that, a well-known public figure or politician. She had also hoped the selection process would send a message to Egypt that its relationship with Israel was a priority for Jerusalem.

However, she soon discovered that eligible candidates were hardly jumping at the vacancy. She and Abramovitz offered the position to four of the ministry’s deputy directors general, and all four turned it down.

The problem is that most of Israel’s communication with Egypt is handled through the defense ministry or the prime minister’s office, so the ambassador is little more than a symbolic representative in a country where, despite 30 years of peace, Israel still isn’t all that popular with the general public. It’s not that hard to understand why prominent Israeli diplomats aren’t jumping at the opportunity.

It will be interesting to see if the foreign ministry will take a more prominent role if Livni succeeds in becoming prime minister.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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