JERUSALEM (Jul. 3)
Shimon Shamir, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, resigned Tuesday, citing ideological differences with the new right-wing Likud government.
But he had warm words for Likud Foreign Minister David Levy, whom he predicted would continue the peace process.
Shamir was appointed to the Cairo post in 1988 by Labor Party leader Shimon Peres, who was then foreign minister.
He explained that he was resigning because his personal views were “not in harmony with the present government.”
Shamir, a professor, will return to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he has been a senior lecturer on Middle East studies.
He pointed out that in Western countries, it is “almost a matter of procedure” for ambassadors to resign when a new government takes office.
“The present government has a platform which I feel I am not the right person to represent,” Shamir said after submitting his resignation to Levy.
His move comes at a time when relations are warming between Cairo and Jerusalem, as both countries struggle to revive the peace process.
Shamir returned to Jerusalem with a message to Levy from his Egyptian counterpart, Foreign Minister Esmat Abdel Meguid, expressing confidence in their future cooperation.
The upbeat message predicted the two foreign ministers would find “common ground” when they meet. Meguid noted that Levy was born in Morocco and is therefore familiar with “Arab thinking.” He said he is sure it is still possible “to advance on the road to peace.”
Shamir stressed that his resignation had nothing to do with the appointment of Levy, a Likud hard-liner.
“On the contrary, from the short time that I have been working with Mr. Levy, I have reason to believe that his efforts will lead to a continuation of the peace process,” the outgoing envoy said. “I also know that the appointment of Mr. David Levy was accepted very favorably in Egypt.” he added.