WASHINGTON - Surprising departure: Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, announced Thursday that he intends to quit his post soon and return to Israel.
Meridor informed Prime Minister Olmert, Foreign Minister Livni, and PM-designate Netanyahu of his decision on Monday, before joining US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her Israel visit.
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Meridor, who was appointed to the post in October 2006, said that "In light of the sensitive nature of the position of Ambassador to the most important country in the world and Israel's strongest ally in the international community, it is fitting and proper that the new Government will have the opportunity to appoint, immediately upon its formation, the man or woman of its choosing as Ambassador to Washington."
"I wish to thank the prime minister, the foreign minister and the outgoing government for granting me the privilege to serve Israel in a most vital and central position during a challenging and sensitive period," Meridor added. "I wish the prime minister-designate and the government which is to be formed much success in meeting the challenges facing Israel,"
Meridor expressed his hope that a new ambassador will be appointed soon and noted that he will continue at the post until his replacement arrives.
Israel's envoy, who is the brother of longtime politician and Likud Knesset Member Dan Meridor, replaced Danny Ayalon, currently an Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset member, after four years of service.