Avi Pazner Named Envoy T Oitaly

Avi Pazner, for the last 10 years a close aide to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, has been named Israel’s next ambassador to Italy.

He is said to have preferred France but was blocked in that ambition by Foreign Minister David Levy, who was reluctant to replace veteran Ambassador Ovadia Soffer with Shamir’s man.

Pazner, 54, is currently Shamir’s media spokesman and adviser.

A career diplomat, he joined the Foreign Ministry as a trainee and served at a number of posts in Africa and the United States. He became the Foreign Ministry’s media spokesman 10 years ago when Shamir was foreign minister.

Pazner was originally slated to be ambassador to Austria, a post vacant since the election of Kurt Waldheim to the presidency in 1988. Because of Waldheim’s Nazi past, Israel decided not to send an ambassador to Vienna as long as he is in office.

Shamir reportedly promised the Paris embassy to his aids but apparently could not override Levy.

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