Atef Salem, who is slated to officially become Egypt's next ambassador to Israel under President Mohammed Morsi's administration, arrived in Israel on Sunday. Salem is expected to submit his letters of credence President Shimon Peres within the next month and a half.
Officials at the Foreign Ministry were pleased with the appointment, which comes at a tense time for the two neighboring countries, as Jerusalem watches to see how the recently elected Morsi will choose to approach Israel.
So far, despite avoiding a clear reference to Israel, it appears Morsi has displayed a tendency toward peace and diplomacy. He criticized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's "oppressive regime" during last week's Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran and has also sent reassuring messages to Israel by saying that Egypt will continue to act with "full respect to international treaties.".
Salem's appointment as Egyptian ambassador to Israel is being perceived as a step in strengthening the ties between the two countries, as Salem is due to become a permanent ambassador — this in contrast to Jordan, which has refrained from replacing its last permanent representative to Israel for the past few years.
Salem has already worked in Israel as Egyptian consul in the southern city of Eilat. An Egyptian official told Israel Hayom that Salem is a seasoned politician with a great deal of experience in diplomacy. For the time being, Salem is not expected to move his family to Tel Aviv, and they will continue to reside in Cairo.