Israel’s Only Moslem Envoy Ending Tour of Duty in Atlanta

Mohammed Massarwa, Israeli consul general in Atlanta and the only Moslem in the foreign service, is to return home next month after serving two years at his post.

Massarwa caused considerable controversy during his tenure in Atlanta. His outspoken comments last summer on the need for a Palestinian state led to a demand for his recall by Moshe Arens, then a Likud minister without portfolio.

Massarwa, the first Arab head of mission in the foreign service, was recently informed by the Foreign Ministry that his stay had been extended only until September, and that he would be notified of further plans at that time.

But Massarwa, citing family concerns — schooling for his children at the beginning of the new school year — replied that in this situation he preferred to end his term of duty altogether.

A member of the Labor Party, Massarwa was appointed to the Atlanta post two years ago by Shimon Peres, who was then foreign minister. Arens, who is the current foreign minister, has not yet named Massarwa’s replacement.

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