TEL AVIV – Israel’s newly appointed ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, presented his credentials to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday to the sounds of an Egyptian military band playing Israel’s national anthem.
“I feel very proud to be appointed to this position in Egypt, the mother of the world, a land of cultures and ancient history. I have no doubt that the relations between Egypt and Israel are vital and central to achieving the long-awaited peace and stability in the region in general,” he said in Arabic to the crowd.
Govrin is Israel’s 13th ambassador to Egypt since the countries established ties in 1980.
Govrin was one of eight ambassadors received at the ceremony, the others being the new envoys from the United Arab Emirates, Somalia, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, Belgium, and Greece.
In addition to Sisi, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was also in attendance. Shoukry visited Israel in July, the most senior Egyptian official to do so since 2007.
Ties between Israel and Egypt have been warming in recent months, with Sisi expressing a desire to play a role in the peace process with the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in July welcomed Sisi’s efforts, saying, “I want to thank President al-Sisi for his leadership and for his efforts to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians and in the broader Middle East.”
Prior to his appointment as envoy to Egypt, Gorin served as director of the Foreign Ministry’s Jordan and North Africa Department.
During the Arab Spring in September 2011, thousands of violent Egyptian protesters stormed the Israel embassy, using battering rams to smash down the walls of the compound. Following directives from President Barack Obama, Egyptian forces eventually intervened.
The head of Egypt’s tiny Jewish community, Majda Haroun, told Egyptian reporters that she had given Govrin a tour of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo.
Haroun, a self-proclaimed anti-Zionist, is known for her hostile comments toward the State of Israel.
She told the media that she only allowed him to visit the synagogue in order to “cut out the Zionists’ tongues” (i.e., to silence them), since according to Haroun, Israel acts as if Jewish culture in Egypt belongs to them and she wanted to convey to Govrin that she’s in charge.