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Meridor to step down as ambassador

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United States is stepping down.

Sallai Meridor told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that he intended to leave the position he has held since October 2006 and return to Israel.

"In light of the sensitive nature of the position of Ambassador to the most important country in the world and Israel’s strongest ally in the international community, it’s fitting and proper that the new Government will have the opportunity to appoint, immediately upon its formation, the man or woman of its choosing as Ambassador to Washington," Meridor said in a statement.

Meridor added that he would remain as ambassador until his replacement arrives.

"I wish to thank the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the outgoing Government for granting me the privilege to serve Israel in a most vital and central position during a challenging and sensitive period," he said. "I wish the Prime Minister Designate and the Government which is to be formed much success in meeting the challenges facing Israel."

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