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

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Former Israeli intelligence minister Eli Cohen, an architect of the normalization 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.

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

Cohen then led the first official delegation to Sudan in January 2021, after the country also signed a normalization 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, normalization with the Saudis can be reached in a short time.”

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