The first Israeli ambassador named to Egypt since dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted a year ago officially took office in Cairo on Monday, Israeli officials said, suggesting that normal ties between the two countries are being solidified after a series of recent setbacks.
Yaacov Amitai presented his credentials in the capital to Egyptian Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council currently ruling Egypt, Reuters reported.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah, was played as part of the ceremony, during which Amitai and 13 other countries’ ambassadors submitted their letters.
“I’ll do my very best to deepen the understanding and strengthen the cooperation between Egypt and Israel,” Amitai said, according to Ynet News.
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He replaces Yitzhak Levanon, who was evacuated from Cairo in September along with the rest of the mission’s staff and their families after rioters stormed the Israeli embassy following the shooting of an Egyptian policeman on the Israel/Egypt border.
Amitai and the rest of his staff are currently working from makeshift premises in the city while Israel hunts for a new location for its embassy, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Many Israelis fear that a post-Mubarak Egypt could tear up a peace treaty signed in 1979 with the Jewish state, particularly as the Muslim Brotherhood – which has threatened to review the treaty – recently secured a majority of votes at Egypt’s parliamentary elections.
The military council, which is expected to remain in control until elections scheduled for June take place, has pledged to honor the treaty along with Egypt’s other international obligations.
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