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Special to the JTA an Academic to Be Israel’s New Ambassador to Spain

Prof. Shlomo Ben Ami, head of Tel Aviv University’s School of History, has been designated to replace Samuel Hadass as Israel’s Ambassador to Spain. Hadass will be returning to Jerusalem as soon as his successor has been formally confirmed by the governments of Israel and Spain, and arrives in Madrid to assume his important post.

The new envoy, who is a Laborite and a friend of Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, is a noted scholar of Iberian history, and has written and lectured extensively on the subject. Born in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1943, he has lived in Israel since 1955.

A graduate of Tel Aviv University, Ben-Ami received his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University and then returned to his alma mater as a lecturer in modern history. He has had a long-term association with the Staff and Command College of the Israel Army, and has also served as advisor to the army’s National Security College. Since 1982, he has officiated as head of his university’s School of History.

One of Ben-Ami’s specialties has been the study of Spanish and Portuguese history and culture and he has lectured in this field in the United States, Mexico and Colombia.

The appointment of a distinguished academic, rather than a career diplomat, to an important Ambassadorial post is not without precedent in Israel. Jewish leaders in Madrid and Barcelona are looking forward to Ben-Ami’s arrival with keen interest.

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