A Few days after the Egyptian FM’s latest visit to Israel, the Israeli International Radio’s Arabic website announced that David Govrin, the new Israeli ambassador to Egypt will begin serving in Cairo on Sunday.
Govrin had worked at the embassy in Cairo in the 1990s and was appointed as the new ambassador in February, following former ambassador Haim Koren who had served in office for two years.
The Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry hasn’t confirmed the news yet.
Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry’s latest visit doesn’t only break the nine-year stretch of no Egyptian foreign minister coming to Israel, it’s also important that the visit comes at the diplomatic level not on the intelligence level as it used to happen during Mubarak’s rule.
The Former-President Hosni Mubarak used to send General Intelligence Service Chairman Omar Suleiman to discuss military and intelligence cooperation and the peace process with the Palestinians, or to consult over policy vis-a-vis Hamas.
According to many observers and Israeli media, the decision to send the foreign minister shows a new level of ties closer to political normalization.
After January revolution in 2011, public dissent against Israel escalated when the Egyptian crowds surrounded the Israeli embassy in Cairo over the killing of five Egyptian policemen by Israeli forces chasing militants in the Sinai. Since the incident, Israel closed it embassy before it reopened it in September 2015.
Even after the military coup in 2013, the Egyptian public are still against normalization with the Zionist entity. In this context, the former ambassador Koren had been the reason for the sacking of an Egyptian member of parliament. In March, a majority of parliamentary votes supported a decision to expel MP Tawfik Okasha because he had received Koren at his house without prior notification to the parliament.
Moreover, the Egyptian public’s burning of the Israeli flag is still practiced in Egypt, most recently on Wednesday in front of the Press Syndicate in reaction to Shoukry’s visit.