Netanyahu Names Shoval As Israel’s Washington Envoy

A veteran Likud diplomat will soon return to service as Israel’s ambassador to the United States.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that he had chosen Zalman Shoval for the Washington posting to replace Eliyahu Ben-Elissar, who will be reassigned as ambassador to France.

Ben-Elissar will replace Ambassador Avi Pazner, who is completing his assignment in Paris.

Netanyahu stressed that he had “full confidence” in Ben-Elissar — a comment that stands in contrast to the chilly relations the two are believed to have.

Last year, Netanyahu was reportedly considering replacing Ben-Elissar, a move headed off by then-Foreign Minister David Levy. Levy later resigned over disagreements with Netanyahu over the budget.

Shoval served in the Knesset from 1970 to 1981, and again from 1988 to 1990.

In 1990, Shoval, who is considered a moderate within the Likud Party, was appointed to be Israel’s ambassador to the United States under the Likud government of Yitzhak Shamir.

He was replaced by Itamar Rabinovich after the Labor Party’s Yitzhak Rabin was elected prime minister.

During that period, U.S.-Israeli ties were repeatedly strained over the issue of American loan guarantees and Shamir’s hawkish stand on the peace process.

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