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Why Netanyahu and Erdogan prefer ‘cold normalization’

Neither Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are particularly enthusiastic about implementing the reconciliation agreement between the two countries.
A Turkish flag flutters atop the Turkish embassy as an Israeli flag is seen nearby, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 26, 2016.  REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo - RTSOQGS

The announcement Oct. 25 on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs internal messaging system regarding the cancellation of the meeting of the appointment committee, which was set to take place in two days in order to appoint an Israeli ambassador to Ankara, disappointed many diplomats in Jerusalem and at Israeli missions abroad. Several senior officials at the ministry submitted their candidacy for this important and desirable post, despite the many security risks involved in heading the Israeli diplomatic mission in Turkey these days. The most prominent among the potential candidates were Eitan Naeh, currently the deputy ambassador in London; Emmanuel Nahshon, the ministry spokesman in Jerusalem; Irit Ben Abba, the ambassador to Athens; and Amira Oron, the charge d’affaires of the embassy in Ankara.

Sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted before the cancellation of the committee meeting that Netanyahu prefers to appoint a close associate — a political appointment — but the ministry’s announcement said that “in light of the changes stemming from the resignation of the ministry’s director general, Dr. Dore Gold, it was decided to wait to convene the committee until the end of the process of installing Yuval Rotem as interim director.” Or, in a loose translation from diplomatic speak: Netanyahu, who also serves as foreign minister, wants to hold on to the ambassador post as a consolation prize for someone who feels put out by the changes at the top of the ministry.

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