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NEW YORK - Arye Mekel, deputy head of Israel's delegation to the United Nations, was appointed yesterday as Israel's consul general in New York. The posting, one of the most highly coveted in the Israeli diplomatic service, became vacant when Alon Pinkas was fired by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, after three years on the job.

Mekel, 58, was former head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, and also served as a close adviser to former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Mekel was Israel's consul in Atlanta, spent time working at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, and was appointed to his UN post two years ago.

Mekel has a lot of experience working with American media, which will come in handy at a time when efficient information dissemination has become the prime task of the Consul General in New York. As consul general in Atlanta, Mekel fostered good relations with CNN, which is based there.

At UN headquarters, Mekel is considered one of the more hardworking diplomats. In his capacity as deputy head of Israel's delegation, Mekel displayed energetic activity in behind-the-scenes negotiations, and was known for the good ties he forged with ambassadors and senior diplomats, including delegates from countries that do not have relations with Israel.