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Israel names new envoy to Jordan as ties return to normal

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Israel names new envoy to Jordan as ties return to normal

New Israeli Ambassador to Jordan, Amir Weissbrod. (photo credit: FOREIGN MINISTRY)

The Foreign Ministry announced on Monday the appointment of veteran ministry Middle East specialist Amir Weissbrod as Jerusalem’s next envoy to Jordan.

Weissbrod succeeds Einat Schlein, whom the Jordanians demanded be replaced following a shooting incident at the embassy compound last July, which badly strained relations between the two countries. Israel gradually began opening its embassy in Amman some 10 days ago.

Weissbrod is one of the ministry’s senior diplomats, having served since the end of 2013 as the head of the Middle East Bureau in the Foreign Ministry’s Center for Political Research. Prior to that, he served as the director of the Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian divisions inside the center.

He has also served in the embassy in Jordan from 2001 to 2004 as the First Secretary in charge of Media and Political Affairs, and between 1997 to 1999 he served in Israel’s Liaison Bureau in Rabat, Morocco, responsible for both political analysis and developing commercial relations between the two countries.

Weissbrod is held in high regard in the ministry, where he is considered both an excellent manager and talented analyst.

Schlein has not yet been appointed to a new position, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that she will receive a “senior position.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and wounded security officer Ziv, July 25 2017 (GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE)

The Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee that named Weissbrod the next envoy also made clear that in its estimation Schlein was an excellent ambassador, and renewed its commitment to give her a “suitable and fitting” appointment.

The embassy was shuttered last July after an Israeli security guard allegedly attacked by a man with a screwdriver, shot the attacker, and also accidentally killed a bystander.

The guard, Schlein and the embassy staff were returned home shortly afterward, and the Jordanians were infuriated that the guard received a “hero’s welcome” from Netanyahu, with Schlein in attendance.

Ties with Jordan chilled considerably since the incident, with the Jordanians demanding that the guard stand trial, and compensation be paid to the families.

Scene of attack at Israel’s embassy in Jordan (credit: REUTERS)

Last month, just prior to a visit to Jordan and Israel by US Vice President Mike Pence, an agreement was reached putting an end to the affair and paving the way for the reopening of the embassy.

Netanyahu told reporters last month that Israel did not “apologize” for the incident, but rather expressed regret.

In addition to naming Weissbrod, the Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee also named Ronen Gil-Or as Israel’s next ambassador to Myanmar. Gil-Or is the UN and Human Rights director at the Foreign Ministry, and has previously served as the deputy chief of mission at Israel’s delegation to the European Union in Brussels.

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