Israel's ex-intelligence minister Eli Cohen nominated as foreign minister

Israel's ex-intelligence minister Eli Cohen nominated as foreign minister
Benjamin Netanyahu nominated former intelligence chief and architect of Israeli normalisation with several Arab states Eli Cohen as foreign minister on Thursday.
2 min read
29 December, 2022
Former intelligence chief Eli Cohen has been nominated as Israel's new foreign minister [Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

Former Israeli intelligence minister Eli Cohen, an architect of the normalisation agreements between Israel and several Arab counties, was Thursday nominated as foreign minister by prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu announced the nomination in a speech to the Israeli parliament as he outlined the direction of his new government, expected to be voted in by lawmakers later in the day, succeeding a coalition government headed by Yair Lapid.

In 2020 the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, all normalised relations with Israel as part of the so-called Abraham Accords.

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Cohen then led the first official delegation to Sudan in January 2021, after the country also signed a normalisation agreement with Israel.

Cohen takes office as Netanyahu seeks to expand the so-called Abraham Accords to Saudi Arabia.

"We laid the foundations for Saudi joining the Abraham Accords," Lapid said in a farewell speech to parliament.

"The secret details will be handed to the incoming prime minister. If the new government continues in the route we carved out, normalisation with the Saudis can be reached in a short time."

Israel has sought to improve ties with several Arab countries over the past few years while at the same time deepening their occupation over the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and beseiged Gaza strip.