Israeli Embassy Reopens in Cairo

Four years after mob raids the premises, Israeli flag raised once again at the embassy in the Egyptian capital.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Israeli embassy in Cairo
Israeli embassy in Cairo

The Israeli embassy in Cairo reopened on Wednesday, four years after a mob ransacked the premises and forced Israel to pull its diplomats from Egypt. 

On September 9, 2011, thousands of Egyptian protesters raided the Israeli embassy in the capital after breaking through the concrete security wall surrounding the building. Six members of the Israeli embassy staff, who hid in a secure room during the assault, were evacuated hours after the attack began by an Egyptian commando unit after direct intervention by US President Barack Obama. 

Following the attack, 85 embassy staff members and their families returned to Israel while the Israeli deputy ambassador left Cairo; the Egyptian army declared a state of emergency. 

On Wednesday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry noted that over the last four years, diplomats have been forced to work under complex conditions - and reopening the embassy would smoothen the normalization process. 

"The Israeli embassy in Egypt is back in operation today," a ministry statement said. "Today, exactly four years ago, the Israeli diplomats were forced to leave the Israeli embassy."

A delegation led by Foreign Ministry Director General Dr. Dore Gold arrived in Cairo Wednesday to mark the festive event. The ceremony was attended by the US Ambassador to Egypt, as well as employees of the Israeli embassy, headed by Ambassador Haim Koren.

After the Israeli flag-raising ceremony and speeches by senior officials, the embassy plaque was unveiled, as well as a symbol of the State of Israel. The event ended with the singing of the Israeli Hatikva and the Egyptian national anthem.

"We are working together for the sake of stability and prosperity in the Middle East,” Gold stated, adding that Egypt "will always be the biggest and most important state in the region, and it is no wonder that the Arab world called Egypt Um al-Dunya, mother of the world.”

Israel's deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, welcomed the embassy's reopening.

"Against the background of regional developments, many opportunities present themselves for cooperation and an enhancement of relations between Israel and states in the region, especially Egypt," she said.

AFP contributed to this report.