Foreign Ministry Director-General Rafael Barak has been nominated for the position of Israel's next ambassador to Canada. Barak was vetted for the position by the Foreign Ministry's appointment's committee and his nomination is pending the cabinet's approval.
The position of Israeli ambassador to Canada is considered one of the diplomatic corps' most prestigious posts, given the close relations between Jerusalem and Ottawa, which have grown even closer during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's previous term in office. The prime minister visited Canada in 2010 and 2012.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Barak immigrated to Israel in 1969 and joined the diplomatic corps in 1977. He served as a senior diplomat with the Israeli mission to Peru, and in 1987 he was named the media attaché at the Israeli Consulate to the European Community, which later became the European Union.
In 1991 Barak was appointed deputy ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg, and between 1993 and 1996 he served as the government's envoy to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority following the Oslo Accords. In 2000 he was named deputy ambassador to the United States and prior to his appointment as Foreign Ministry director-general he served as head of Israel's Western Europe desk at the ministry and deputy ambassador to France.
Barak has a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Tel Aviv University and a master's degree in international relations from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The Foreign Ministry's appointment's committee has yet to tap anyone to replace Barak, who is likely to depart the ministry within weeks, leaving Netanyahu -- who also serves as foreign minister pending the conclusion of the legal proceedings against Yisrael Beytenu Chairman and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman -- to choose Barak's successor.
Sources in the Foreign Ministry said that Sharon Shalom, Lieberman's former bureau chief, is vying for the position, and that the Civil Service Nominations Committee has begun his vetting process.