Ambassador Alon Bar to represent Israel in Italy

The new Israeli Ambassador Alon Bar, in Rome last week, is ready for his mission in Italy. In the coming weeks he will officially present his credentials to the Head of State Sergio Mattarella. In the meantime, he met with the chief ambassador of the Italian diplomatic protocol Inigo Lambertini, to whom he presented a copy of the credentials signed by the President of Israel Isaac Herzog (pictured). “Mazal tov”, was the message of Lambertini, who at the end of August warmly greeted Bar’s predecessor, Dror Eydar. “In three years – Lambertini remarked – he has learned Italian in an excellent way and has been a real builder of relations between our two countries”. The mission of Bar, for a long time the head of the political-strategic establishment of the Foreign Ministry, starts in this wake.
A longtime diplomat, Bar has closely followed several delicate issues for Jerusalem. A more recent example is his mission, last May 9, to Turkey to meet with his counterpart in Ankara and prepare – as the journalist Barak Ravid said – the visit to Israel of Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The mission was completed in late May.
As for his relations with Europe, Bar intervened in the crisis between Poland and Israel, criticizing Warsaw for the controversial law that made it very difficult for Holocaust survivors to obtain the return of properties seized by the Nazis during WWII. The diplomat was entrusted with the meeting with the Polish ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski, summoned to formally protest against the rule.
On that occasion Bar, a note reads, remarked how the measure affected “90 percent of the requests submitted by survivors or their descendants to recover the plundered properties”. Therefore, Warsaw was asked to retrace its steps and change the norm. The appeal went unheard, with the consequent diplomatic crisis between the two countries and with the rule passed by the Polish parliament.
Before returning to Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, Bar had another European experience, leading the embassy in Madrid from 2011 to 2015. In an interview with El Mundo, at the end of his mandate, he had positively evaluated that experience. “I think I was able to play an important part on the Spanish agenda. We have expanded the ties between the two countries, and the sentiment in Spain towards Israel has improved compared to before my arrival”.
El Mundo also asked the ambassador about his position on the conflict with the Palestinians. “I remain optimistic that the most logical solution is the creation of a Palestinian state,” he explained at the time. “I am in favor of the two-state solution,” he then added. “Israel will recognize the (Palestinian) state, as long as it is within an agreement and not outside it”. He then recalled how “the rejection of this agreement is stronger on the Palestinian side than on the Israeli side. In recent negotiations, Israel accepted 90% of Palestinian requests, whereas Palestinians instead rejected the agreement “.
On the subject of relations with Europe, a few days before the conflict triggered by Hamas broke out in May 2021, the ambassador had met thirteen European colleagues – including representatives of France, Germany and Italy. It was for him an opportunity to reiterate that Israel had no intention of obstructing the Palestinian elections in any way and of not listening to the Palestinian Authority, which claimed otherwise. “During the meeting, Alon Bar stressed to the ambassadors that elections in the Palestinian Authority are an internal Palestinian issue and that Israel has no intention of intervening or preventing them,” a statement from the Jerusalem Foreign Ministry read. “Israel is acting with caution and responsibility to avoid the deterioration of the situation on the ground and expects European countries to behave in the same way.”
Abbas, worried about a possible electoral defeat, then decided to blow up the elections, generating further friction with the Hamas terrorist movement. Compared to international scenarios, Bar has a lot of experience regarding UN issues. He was, in fact, Deputy Director General for the United Nations and International Organizations at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Last March, a few weeks after the visit of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, he met the director general at the Farnesina Pasquale Ferrara in Jerusalem. Between the two, an Israeli diplomatic note read, there had been an “excellent exchange on international, regional and bilateral issues”.