Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, has returned to his post, eight months after he and his staff were evacuated due to security concerns.
The online newspaper Egypt Independent reported that Govrin arrived at Cairo airport with a staff of eight diplomats who were then escorted by a “large security motorcade” to Israel’s embassy.
After the embassy was stormed by demonstrators in 2011, staff was reduced until the embassy was eventually evacuated in December 2016.
In a special session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Foreign Ministry detailed its concerns over the state of diplomatic relations with Egypt, stating that they had deteriorated significantly since the staff left the embassy.
A few days later, an Israeli delegation met with senior Egyptian officials to discuss security arrangements for the reopening of the embassy.
Before the closure in December, the ambassador and his staff flew home every Thursday and back to Cairo on Sunday, and regularly worked from the ambassador’s residence.
Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova, a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee welcomed the move stating that, “the security relations that exist between [Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah] al-Sissi’s administration are important,” she said, “but they aren’t enough. Diplomatic relations between countries also carry a lot of weight.”
In an interview with Army Radio, former Israeli ambassador to Egypt Yitzchak Levanon said that strong security ties between Egypt and Israel were not enough, and that the two nations should expand their relations in tourism, agriculture and other areas of mutual benefit.