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Israel to Downgrade Ties with Austria

Israel reportedly has decided not to replace its Ambassador in Vienna when the current envoy, Michael Elizur, retires shortly. Instead, it will leave its Embassy in the hands of a Charge d’ Affaires, a significant downgrading of Israeli diplomatic representation in Austria.

Jerusalem’s decision is clearly a sign of its deep displeasure over the election of Kurt Waldheim to the Austrian Presidency last July after a bitter campaign during which massive evidence of Waldheim’s Nazi past was uncovered. A new Ambassador would have to present his credentials to Waldheim, a diplomatic ceremony unacceptable to Israel under current circumstances.

Neither Waldheim’s office nor the Foreign Ministry here has commented on the reported decision in Jerusalem.

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