Israeli hawk favoured as new ambassador

28th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

JERUSALEM, Oct 28 (AFP) - A right-wing hawk from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party is the favoured candidate to become the new Israeli ambassador to Paris, the Israeli press reported on Friday.

JERUSALEM, Oct 28 (AFP) - A right-wing hawk from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud party is the favoured candidate to become the new Israeli ambassador to Paris, the Israeli press reported on Friday.

Eli Moyal, mayor of the southern city of Sderot which has been repeatedly targeted by Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, is seen as a favourite of Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, despite hardly speaking a word of French.

Shalom, who is visiting Paris, refused to confirm or deny the report, telling Israel radio there were "several excellent potential candidates" but stressed he had not yet chosen who would be appointed.

Before getting the job, Moyal, who is not a career diplomat, must be approved by a professional committee.

Moyal who strongly opposed Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, has often demanded Israel take extreme measures to stop Palestinian militants from firing rockets at his battered city.

"I don't want any children to be killed, but if it happens, it would be better if it is children in Gaza than ours," he said on Tuesday.

A 54-year-old lawyer, Moyal was born in Morocco and moved to Israel in 1957. He is thought of as a close ally of Foreign Minister Shalom and has recently been on several overseas trips to promote Israel's position.

Outgoing ambassador Nissim Zvilli, a former Labour party leader, was appointed to the post three years ago.

In recognition of his work to strengthen relations between the two countries, France conferred the order of the Legion of Honour upon the Tunisian-born diplomat, an order of chivalry which is the country's highest civilian honour.

Zwilli, who has been active in efforts to secure peace with the Arab world, was seen as close to Israel's dovish Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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